I’m the new Region 11 director, appointed by the board in July to fill Elizabeth Smith’s seat and then elected by SPJ members last week to serve through the EIJ15 conference in Orlando. Since returning to San Diego from Nashville, I’ve caught up on my sleep, “The Leftovers” and “Boardwalk Empire” and been eating more tacos and less BBQ. But I’m still brimming with ideas and inspiration from our EIJ14 conference.
Hope you are, too.
Blogging is kind of my thing, so you can expect this blog to be more regular and entertaining than it has been in recent years. This post will serve as an introduction and a solicitation.
But first, I’d like to thank and acknowledge Debra Krol of the Valley of the Sun chapter and Richard Saxton of the Los Angeles chapter, both of whom ran for the Region 11 seat and then reached out to me after the election to offer their congratulations and help. It’s that kind of support that will make this year great for all our chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. If you missed it, Debra and I gave speeches on the convention floor in Nashville, where I was very lucky to meet many of you and also eat this:
By now, you’ve probably heard the biggest news from our conference. To recap: We updated the SPJ Code of Ethics for the first time in 18 years. We also elected a new board and created an endowed legal defense fund. And we chose Anaheim as the site of the EIJ17 conference. There were also tons of great breakout sessions and conversations. In one, some of us from Region 11 met to discuss expectations and hopes for the coming year. Our plan is just a start, but it seemed to energize people in the room.
Some of our common goals and first steps are these:
1) Throw another excellent regional conference in Phoenix this spring.
The Valley of the Sun chapter and I will work to make that happen and share a date as soon as we have one.
2) Network and share program ideas.
There’s talk of a joint L.A.-San Diego SPJ meetup, and to everyone’s benefit, I plan to set up a Google doc soon to allow us to share successful programs in a convenient way. There, we can document and discuss together what makes certain panels work (or not), and review a series of metrics that is likely to include social media, turnout, fundraising or membership growth.
3) Share some valuable lessons we’ve learned covering stories that touch us all, stories on drought, wildfire, Native American issues and other subjects.
Look for these in a future blog post once I compile them, with your help.
4) Better advocate for the region and its journalists.
The presidents of our pro chapters will hold a regular Skype or conference call to coordinate and communicate and tap into our collective wealth of knowledge. Then we’ll all be able to stay on top of what everyone is doing and move quickly as warranted because that line of communication is open.
5) Boost our membership at the college and pro chapter level.
We can start by connecting on the new Twitter and Facebook pages I set up for Region 11 and inviting non-SPJ members to follow us and like us there. I’d like these social media spaces to be places where we share tips, job postings, stories, issues and conversation. Please follow, like and promote them. I hope they become a forum for every reporter in all four states.
Have other thoughts, suggestions or proposals? Please add them below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter, where you’ll find I’m really responsive.
One specific thing I’d like to consider? Renaming this blog. We can do better, am I right? If you have suggestions, drop me a line. I’ll try to scare up some SPJ swag for the person who picks something that sticks.
In closing, here’s my bio. The tl;dr summary? I’m the public engagement director at U-T San Diego, where I’ve worked since 2001 as a reporter, city columnist and public engagement editor and now manage and curate social media. I’ve also worked in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I’m president of the San Diego Pro Chapter of SPJ. I have two young daughters.
Again, got something on your mind? Please ping me. This blog’s for you.
I’m here for you. As is SPJ.