SPJ Member of the Month: Claire Regan

Claire Regan

Claire Regan

SPJ’s Member of the Month for March is New York Deadline Club mainstay Claire Regan, who in addition to numerous other things arranges awards dinners and now the Region 1 spring conference. Congratulations Claire!

Here’s what Claire has to say about herself:

They say journalism is all about connections.

One of my best connections has been Betsy Ashton, who inspired me to join SPJ’s New York City Deadline Club some 25 years ago.

Actually, it was her voice that drew me in. As I accompanied colleagues from the Staten Island Advance to my first Deadline Club awards dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, Betsy stood out on the dais. I noticed how prepared and professional she was as she called up the winners.

She was well-rehearsed, pronouncing every name perfectly. No wonder, since Betsy’s successful career was in radio and television news.

I approached her at the dais and asked how I could get involved in the club. She was cordial and encouraging, and invited me to the next Deadline Club meeting.

A great connection had begun.

During Betsy’s terms as Deadline Club president, I served as newsletter editor and designer. She was the perfect mentor, tapping the talents of new members like me. I quickly earned an elected position and haven’t left the board since.

For the past three years, I’ve served as vice president of the awards dinner – the event that first attracted me to SPJ.

I design items for club events, including invitations, flyers, save-the-date cards, program books and Hall of Fame medals. I’m a longtime newspaper designer – I have two Deadline Club “Rube” awards for best page design to show for it — so these projects are pleasures rather than challenges.

I also chair the scholarship committee, which gives up to four $2,500 prizes to metro area college students each year. My experience as an assistant professor at Wagner College on Staten Island helps me here. Thanks to SPJ, these young journalists get an extra boost.

By far the biggest project I’ve handled for the club is chairing the Region 1 Conference, scheduled for April 7 and 8 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. We’ve got a great line-up of speakers under the theme, “Practicing Journalism in Dangerous Times.”

I’ve been tapping all my connections to make the conference a success. As with every SPJ event, it will give journalists an opportunity to dialogue about critical issues.

My 35-year career at my hometown newspaper was recently impacted by a reorganization. As I transition out of the newsroom, I appreciate the camaraderie – and connections — of the Deadline Club more than ever.

I salute SPJ for keeping us all connected.

Region 1 Director Jane Primerano nominated Claire.

Says Jane: “A conference in Manhattan is complicated. Claire has successfully brought in presented and panels representing the wide variety of New York media, creating a schedule that works around the lives of busy professionals. She is also using her exemplary graphics skills to create the program book. Anyone who has ever worked on a conference knows the million little details that must be attended to and the incessant fires that must be doused. Claire is doing all this while teaching at Wagner College on Staten Island and writing for the Staten Island Advance.”

Do you know an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan S. Stevens, Membership Committee member, at susanstevens@aol.com. Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why your nominee is worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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