September 26th, 2012
Guest post: Nebraska journalists sow seeds for an SPJ chapter
By Holly Edgell
The 2012 Society of Professional Journalists Membership Drive runs Sept. 4 to Oct. 4. Just Tweet it! Please share your membership story on Twitter this month. The hashtag is #joinspj. I recommend adding #journalism as well.
Katie Knapp Schubert is the news director for KIOS-FM, Omaha Public Radio. She also handles the station’s social media and website for the news department. As Region 7 prepared to hold its Spring Conference in Omaha in 2010, Katie and other local journalists were talking about bringing an SPJ pro chapter back to Nebraska. There have been student chapters at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and Lincoln, and there used to be a professional chapter based in Lincoln. Now, Katie has been joined in her efforts by Rob McLean who recently moved to Omaha to work as a digital managing editor for Hearst Television, based at KETV.
Bringing SPJ to the Cornhusker State By Katie Knapp Schubert
My good friend and media colleague here in Omaha, Rob McLean, and I are working to re-start a Nebraska chapter of SPJ. We’re the only state in Region 7 without a chapter. Although our jobs have changed significantly with the new tools available today, the principles of journalism remain the same. And that’s why it’s so important for journalists to have the resources and networking that SPJ provides.
My job as a radio news reporter and anchor has changed significantly since I began in 2001. Sure, I’m still writing scripts, gathering and editing audio, making calls, and going to press conferences. I’m planning election coverage and heading out on breaking news. My daily duties also include publishing content to the web, Twitter, and Facebook.
It’s important to remember, though, that even with the new tools, our journalistic principles still apply. We have a responsibility to tell the truth, to be unbiased, to provide a service to our readers, listeners, or viewers. Ethics, accuracy, and credibility are more important than ever. Social media means we’re sharing more information, more often. It’s important, even with the new tools, to be right, and to be fair.
Networking opportunities are exceptional in SPJ, at both a regional and national level. However, the organization’s dedication to professional development and defending journalism’s sanctity (both ethically and legally) is what helps elevate SPJ to something more than just a social club for local journalists.
In Nebraska, we hope SPJ will be a local forum to discuss the journalism craft in all media. From round-table discussions to lectures from industry leaders and innovators, we hope the Omaha-Lincoln chapter of SPJ will help strengthen the local journalism community.
Nothing helps journalists bond better than war stories. Come share yours with us!
Are you a Nebraska journalist? Do you know a Nebraska journalist? If so, connect with Katie and Rob!
More about the SPJ Membership Drive: Toolkit and Calendar included!