When I asked in the last blog post what would prompt people to join SPJ right now, “networking” was a common answer. It’s not surprising, really, considering the uncertainly of our industry. For student journalists concerned about finding a job, for young professionals unsure worried about pink slips and for seasoned professionals who have found themselves in the unemployment lines, this is a tough time.
And in tough times, you need a support system. That’s were SPJ comes in handy. Once you join, you’re connected to a few thousand friends and supporters – people willing to lend a hand, offer advice or encouragement or simply listen if you’re worried about your future. SPJ members also can give you a professional boost by connecting you to job openings, introducing you to hiring managers, serving as mentors and giving your resume an editor’s eye.
SPJ as an organization provides a host of conferences – national and regional – along with various professional development workshops and programs aimed at helping you learn new skills so you can be part of a new world of journalism.
I’d say that’s pretty good deal for $72.
Think of the things people will drop $72 for without a second though: a pair of jeans, date night, concert tickets, a few too many Starbucks trips … and the list goes on. Look at all the people who jumped at the chance to buy a new $500 iPad.
All those are one-time expenses for items that are either immediately consumed or eventually replaced. But growing a network of lifelong professional contacts (and friends), learning new skills and figuring out a way to stay in a business that changes almost daily – those lessons won’t be gone in the time it takes you sip a latte or polish off a fine dinner.
SPJ has staying power – but only if you join the network and only if you stay.