By John Huotari | January 1st, 2009
SPJ’s Garden Center blog has been dormant since September. Now, I want to revive it. I apologize for not keeping it active these last few months.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is John Huotari, and I am chairman of SPJ’s membership committee. I am also a newspaper reporter, mostly covering city government for The Oak Ridger in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The good news for SPJ is that membership is mostly holding steady, despite the discouraging state of our industry and the national economy. Here’s what the national staff said in their final membership report of 2008: “Given the circumstances that journalists and media companies faced this year, we think SPJ did very well regarding membership.”
The challenge for us this year is retaining those members. During the last few months, I’ve noticed that the numbers of student and retired members in particular seem to be falling from where they were a year ago. Your SPJ membership committee (more information about them in subsequent posts) is working to find ways to reduce or eliminate those losses.
We also want to work closely with SPJ’s freelance committee to ensure that SPJ remains valuable to freelancers, particularly as their ranks are expected to grow.
And we are forming a subcommittee to start a multi-year effort to form chapters in states that don’t currently have them.
As the membership committee gets this blog active again, watch for updates on membership numbers, stories on successful recruitment and retention efforts from chapters across the country, and tips from SPJ pros.
Please feel free to send me any questions or suggestions you might have. The SPJ membership committee is meant to be a resource for members and local chapters, as well as those interested in becoming members or forming chapters. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
You may contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (865) 220-5533.
May the rain gods bless this blog , and may you visit often.