By Holly Edgell | February 14th, 2013
Recently a small puffy envelop arrived from SPJ headquarters. What could it be? An earring I lost at a convention? Valentine’s Day chocolate? It was something even better: a pin commemorating my 10 years of membership in the Society of Professional Journalists.
As many journalists can relate, dedicating oneself to anything career-wise can be a challenge in these times of churn in our profession. Layoffs, buyouts, closures, and just plain burnout… Not to mention our natural tendency to seek new opportunities, decide to take a break to go back to school, go it alone as a freelancer or entrepreneur or opt for more family life than work life. It all adds up to a tall order to stick with one job or one company for ten years.
Speaking for myself (having experienced many of the above-referenced vagaries of journalism life) I was more pleased than I would have imagined to get that 10-year pin!
Evolution and opportunity
The pin reminds me of my evolution in SPJ. It represents the support and opportunities that have come my way through the organization–not to mention the friends I’ve made along the way.
Membership has helped me in practical ways: training, resources, networking, mentoring, conferences (regional and national). The fact of being an active member who actually knows other active members as well as organization leaders and staff has opened doors in my career. I’ve judged MOE and SDX awards, organized a spring regional conference (and attended several), made a point to attend the national convention as often as possible, chatted on SPJ Blog Talk Radio, and more.
Over the past ten years, I’ve seen SPJ evolve into a broad based journalism organization that welcomes journalists from media platforms beyond newspapers and academe. Thanks to the efforts of Sally Lehrman (now an SDX Foundation board member) and her organizational descendents, the organization is reaching out to members from diverse background like never before.
This year’s national convention exemplifies both changes: For the third time, SPJ and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) are teaming up for Excellence in Journalism 2013 in Anaheim. This year the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is joining in, too!
Ten for ten (years)
That 10-year pin got me thinking: Who else has been a member for 10 years? Linda Hall, our membership director at HQ, was kind enough to send me a few names. (Andy Schotz sent me a message on Facebook to let me know he also got his ten-year pin. Thanks, Andy)!
Joel Jay Campbell > associate professor, Brigham Young University
Carol Cole-Froe > independent journalist and and adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma
David Joachim > weekend Washington editor. The New York Times; adjunct professor, George Washington University
Gerard T. Koeppel > journalist and author, Bond of Union, Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire (2009)
Beth Konrad > professor, Loyola University Chicago
Dominick Miserandino > owner, TheCelebrityCafe.com
Gayle Reaves-King > editor, Fort Worth Weekly
Andrew Schotz > assistant managing editor at The Gazette (Gaithersburg, Md.)
John Siegenthaler > founder, The First Amendment Center
Scott A. Thiesen > web producer, KSTP.com
Going the distance
Of course there are members who’ve stuck with SPJ far longer than ten years. I salute you! After posting a note about my pin in the SPJ Linkedin Group, I heard from a few other folks:
Elizabeth Kelly shared that she’s been a member for 18 years!
Eileen Sisk reported receiving her 35-year pin. Nice!
Jacqueline Jordan said: “Just got my 20-year pin. Not bad for a freelancer, huh? We revived our local pro chapter last year (San Antonio, Region 8) and will hold our first conference in several years in May!”
My SPJ Timeline:
2002. Joined SPJ as campus chapter adviser at Florida A&M University.
2006. Ran for Campus Adviser At-Large. Lost.
2008. Ran for Region 7 Director (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska). Won!
2011. Asked by SPJ President John Ensslin to serve as national Membership Committee chair
2012. Asked by SPJ President Sonny Albarado to stay on as national Membership Committee chair
Ready to join or rejoin SPJ? Drop me a line with your questions: email@example.com and find more information at SPJ.org.
> We offer newsroom membership options.
> We offer collegiate institutional memberships