By Holly Edgell | February 28th, 2012
McKenzie Romero is president of the Southern Utah University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She earned a communication degree from SUU in 2009. Then she spent 18 months on an LDS mission in Guatemala. She is back at SUU to complete her Spanish degree and will graduate (again) in May. Meanwhile, Romero leads the campus newspaper and multi-platform convergence initiative.
The new year has rung itself in and campus is alive again. As one of my new year’s resolutions I’m taking the chance to work on revitalizing my student chapter of SPJ here at Southern Utah University.
Our chapter has been around since the 1980s, but activity has fluctuated through the years. It seems that we have been in a downward trend lately, but once students passionate about journalism come to understand SPJ’s mission, interest will follow.
We started off this semester with a luncheon sponsored to explain the benefits of SPJ membership to new student journalists involved with the campus newspaper. Next we will be branching out to the TV and radio students.
My plan for revitalizing my chapter consists of three steps:
1. Get students passionate about journalism. Students who understand why journalism is crucial to society will want to be involved and will make it a priority to prepare themselves to work in the field. At our SPJ luncheon we went over SPJ’s mission; to preserve the free press and thereby protect our free society. The students agreed that with so much happening in our country and the world right now, journalists’ ability to report freely is essential.
2. Letting students know what SPJ can do for them. My experiences attending conferences, helping with campus events and being a national Mark of Excellence finalist have been some of the highlights of my time in college, and have helped lay the foundation for my career. In addition to my own experiences, at our lunch meeting we talked about SPJ’s support of Utah journalists in 2011 when the state tried to limit access to government records and meetings.
3. Present a unified front. Consistency is key in making sure our chapter is meeting regularly, sponsoring activities, bringing in guest speakers and mentoring student journalists. For those of you who may be facing a similar situation with your chapter, let me know what’s working for you, I’d love to trade ideas. Stay tuned for updates.
- Reach McKenzie Romero: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow her on Twitter: @McKenzieRomero
- On the web: The Southern Utah University SPJ Chapter