September 21st, 2012
SPJ membership drive Q&A: Rio Grande chapter prez says it’s all about jobs and training
By Holly Edgell
Note to readers: The 2012 Society of Professional Journalists Membership Drive runs Sept. 4 to Oct. 4. As membership chair, I’ve assigned myself the task of sharing the stories of members around the country through a series of Q&A posts. If you would like to share your thoughts via Q&A or in a guest post, email email@example.com. We are also interested in hearing from people wondering why they should join and former members who have constructive ideas about how SPJ can serve the profession. Please share these posts with non-members!
Q&A with Julie Ann Grimm, Rio Grande SPJ
Julie Ann Grimm is president of the Rio Grande Chapter of SPJ. She covers local government for The Santa Fe New Mexican, where she has worked since 2003. The 2001 University of Missouri graduate worked for the Associated Press in Albuquerque for two years before joining the staff at the oldest family-owned newspaper in New Mexico.
Edgell I notice that the SPJ Rio Grande chapter blog includes posts with job opportunities. Do you and other chapter leaders find that employment is the major concern among your members?
Grimm Yes. Cutbacks and layoffs are still a reality for New Mexico media, even as other jobs are opening up here. The board hopes that by having this information on our website, we can be relevant to job-seekers and students. It’s also a way to help people advance in their career.
Edgell The journalism workplace is changing–it seems like daily. From your perspective as a chapter leader, how can SPJ serve people who are grappling with new job descriptions, duties, and ever-evolving expectations?
Grimm We try to conduct training and put on programs that expose journalists to new skills. For example, a photographer did two workshops this year in New Mexico that were aimed at helping reporters use point-and-shoot digital cameras. This tool/responsibility has been added to many job descriptions.
Edgell It strikes me that your chapter includes people from diverse backgrounds who cover diverse communities. What should SPJ be doing to serve the profession in this context?
Grimm Our chapter was defunct for decades before the last three years. We’re not sure what happened back then, but now, SPJ can serve all of its members by lowering the cost of being “part of the club.” We find that the annual fee is prohibitive. We welcome non-members to our Rio Grande Chapter events and are trying to focus on being relevant to all working journalists here.
Edgell When did you join SPJ and why?
Grimm Creating a better sense of community among journalists seemed like a worth pursuit.
Connect with Julie Ann Grimm via Twitter
Learn more about Rio Grande SPJ
More about the SPJ Membership Drive: Toolkit and Calendar included!
Find your SPJ chapter!