The SPJ Board of Directors would have four fewer members, under a proposal pending before the board.
Three regional director seats would be eliminated, and one of the two campus chapter adviser seats would go away. A newly configured board would have 19 members instead of 23.
Under the proposal from Region 3 director Michael Koretzky, the new lineup would be:
• Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont
• Region 2: Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia
• Region 3: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
• Region 4: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
• Region 5 (formerly 12): Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee
• Region 6: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
• Region 7 (formerly 8): Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
• Region 8 (formerly 10): Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming
• Region 9 (formerly 11): Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Mariana Islands, Utah
Every one of the regions would get at least one additional state, except Region 1, which would get the western half of Pennsylvania (currently part of Region 4).
The changes are needed, according to Koretzky, for these reasons:
• If approved, this paring of SPJ’s board will make it more nimble without sacrificing representation. By comparison, other national journalism groups have smaller governing boards. For example, IRE and ONA have 13-member boards that function quite well.
• Current technology will allow regional directors to keep in touch with larger geographic areas. The current configuration and board size predate the use of virtual meetings, email and cell phones.
• The proposed elimination of one campus position is in response to perceived over-representation of academia on the board. Usually there are several RDs who are journalism professors.
The board met by telephone Zoom conference on Monday, May 9, to begin discussing and vetting the proposal. Changing the number of regions can be accomplished in a simple board vote. Elimination of a campus chapter adviser position would require a vote by convention delegates at EIJ16; a board vote would provide a recommendation to the delegates.
In the interest of transparency, the board is publicizing the proposal to permit feedback and member input.
Please contact your regional director or any SPJ officer to provide feedback; you can find email addresses for the board at spj.org/spjboard.asp.
The board will meet again by Zoom conference the week of May 23 to discuss and vote on the proposal.