April 4th, 2012
Mining your membership & other thoughts after the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference
By Holly Edgell
I learned a new phrase at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference in Ames, Iowa over the weekend:
“SPJ is more than just a bill and a Quill.“
Amen to that!
As the Society of Professional Journalists continues to evolve, it may be challenging for members and prospective members to keep track of all the new benefits and resources. At the Region 7 gathering I found myself sharing lots of examples of why I am a member and why others should consider joining.
So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites, with nod to the folks at HQ who helped pull together this list. Consider this blog post a tool for helping prospective members to get a fuller picture of why membership has its benefits.
- SPJ on Demand: Online training videos. These include basic videography techniques; business tips for freelancers; FOI law; mastering social media and more.
- Discounts to Excellence in Journalism national conference. This year it’s in Fort Lauderdale. I attended the New Orleans conference in 2011 and found the synergy of SPJ and RTDNA incredible.
- Discounted award entry fees.
- Quill magazine subscription and access to Quill magazine online archives
- Chapter membership for local programming and involvement in SPJ planning
- Chance to join national committees to plan programming, develop resources, and advocate for journalists
- Access to the online Freelancer Directory, where all members list themselves and editors/managers find people for extra work. National, regional and local news organizations frequently use it to find freelancers.
And there’s more! Useful practical tools aside, SPJ keeps ‘em honest–both within and outside our industry.
Advocacy: SPJ, local chapters and national committees speak out on current issues affecting journalists.
- President John Ensslin wrote an editorial and SPJ issued a statement condemning arrests of journalists at the Occupy protests. The editorial has been published by other outlets.
- The Northern California Pro chapter’s FOI Committee wrote a letter that was instrumental in dropping the charges against Susie Cagle, a journalist who was arrested while covering an Occupy protest
- SPJ joined a letter supporting the release of public information in the National Practitioner Data Bank. The public data file was restored after pressure from SPJ and other organizations, but there are still restrictions
- The Legal Defense Fund frequently joins and financially supports cases defending journalists in court
Call for comments: I am gathering thoughts, reflections, and “overheads” from the spring regional conferences. I will round them up in a blog post which I hope will give us a kind of anecdotal records of what took place around the country. You may add your input here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, job, and which regional conference you attended.
More on membership: