By Joe Skeel | June 30th, 2008
One of the blessings/curses about my job at SPJ headquarters is that I get to see things from the top of the journalism umbrella. Our educational programs, Quill content, membership efforts, public relations and the rest our business is usually conducted from a national perspective.
Of course, that means I often don’t get the same view as local SPJ chapters.
That’s why I truly love the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute that SPJ conducts every summer. I can’t take any credit for the masterful weekend retreat (that goes to Heather Porter and Chris Vachon). I’m really little more than a fly on the wall. But it’s one of the few times each year I get to visit with local chapter leaders and hear about all the wonderful things they are doing.
Of course, as is the nature with most retreats, I also get to hear about their frustrations. The great thing is, these frustrations don’t seem quite so insurmountable when you realize others out there are feeling the same way. We chatted about great program ideas, ways to include and motivate volunteers and how to improve a chapter’s bottom line. We talked about creating a successful leadership ladder and widening our nets for perspective members. You name it…we probably talked about it at some point.
In the coming months, my job is going to evolve a bit. I will be much more involved with membership. And, quite frankly, that means I’m going to more involved with local chapters. I believe the best way to build a lasting membership base is to do so through our local folks.
In my almost four years with SPJ, there seems to be an invisible wall that separates SPJ’s national offices and the local chapters. My hope is that we break down that wall and begin to work together.
If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. And I hope that when I need to lean on you, you’ll return the favor.