March 23rd, 2012
Guest blog: Spreading the message about SPJ benefits to student journalists
By Holly Edgell
Lynn Walsh is an Investigative Producer for WPTV in West Palm Beach and a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is the chair of SPJ’s Generation J Committee, which focuses on helping early-stage pros sharpen their skills and bone up on the importance of journalism advocacy.
Professional organizations are a great way to network and of course look good on resumes and are impressive to potential employers. But with so many organizations out there it can sometimes remind you more of a can alphabet soup than anything actually appetizing.
A visit to the SPJ booth in New York at the College Media Advisers conference may have seemed that way too — until you talked to Tara Puckey or I. Tara and I worked the SPJ booth along with some help from a few other SPJ members to make sure SPJ and the journalists it represents were in front of the many college students learning about the news business from industry leaders and their peers.
- SPJ is not geared toward one particular journalism medium, we are for ALL journalists: A lot of organizations cater to a specific medium (radio, TV, print) or topic (medical, investigative); not SPJ. It has members from all over the world practicing all types of different journalism is every medium around. Specializations are great, but sometimes it is nice to be surrounded by those different than you.
- SPJ is the organization that created and maintains the Code of Ethics: If a student did not know what SPJ was or had never heard of SPJ, it was not that surprising. And our hopes were raised when all of them had heard of and were familiar with the SPJ Code of Ethics. It seems the ethics codes that many of us have probably known for more years than we can remember is not just a part of SPJ members but journalists everywhere. One more reason to be proud of the Code and keep it relevant for journalists today.
- SPJ is there for you even after you graduate: Yes, SPJ has student chapters but it also has a lot of professional chapters for after you graduate. While our members probably know that, some of the college students did not. As someone who can honestly say she they have received more benefits from SPJ as a post-college journalist, I was sure to make this point clear. From what is available to young journalists, freelancers and the training and networking opportunities, the Pro chapters and their events and connections keep SPJ going.
- SPJ after-college rate: Call it a selling point if you want but the after college rate for recent graduates is more than that — it’s smart. With the changing climate in the news business it can be hard to find a job right away and that means every penny you can save counts. The ability to get a Pro membership for the college rate allows many recent graduates to continue to be members in SPJ and continue to pursue a career in journalism.
Want to reach Lynn Walsh? Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org