Annual reports – the pros

Who likes reading SPJ chapter annual reports? Me. There’s always something interesting or enlightening as chapters summarize their year.

Here are some tidbits I noticed as I read the annual reports of Region 2’s pro chapters this week:

– D.C. Pro: I didn’t expect to learn anything new, since I’m on the board. But I was glad to read that two new members, who have been getting more involved in the chapter, have taken on an important role: contacting our existing members as their memberships were about to lapse. There’s a nice symmetry in that. A job fair jointly held by five journalism organizations and Georgetown University was a hit.

– Delaware Pro: For a young, small chapter, it had a pretty good year in programming. It stood out in FOI, with a nice session with the state attorney general, then three separate programs at three college campuses.

– Greater Charlotte Pro: The chapter didn’t just talk about open government – it fought for it by challenging a closed-door government meeting on whether to spend public money on a privately owned NFL stadium. SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund provided $5,000 for court costs.

– Maryland Pro: A model of financial transparency in its report. The chapter uploaded 95(ish) pages showing bank statements, receipts, registrations, deposit slips and more. And I noticed that the chapter adopted a policy of requiring two signatures when it issues checks, a good safeguard.

– North Carolina Pro: Was good on social activities, which help lure people to a growing chapter. I like that “homemade SPJ ornaments” were given out at the holiday party.

– Virginia Pro: Made great connections with local college students through its College Media Day, covering a range of topics (jobs, internships, social media, FOI, column writing, entering contests) and with resume critiques. Did something good for its financial audit: None of the three people who reviewed the records were board members.


Miscellaneous: I liked this section in the Delaware and North Carolina pro chapters’ bylaws (yes, I’m reading those, too): “Section 7 — All membership meetings and programs of the (Delaware/North Carolina) Pro Chapter shall be on the record and open to coverage by any or all communications media on an equal basis.”

Virginia Pro had a different, but also good, statement of openness in its bylaws: “Section 5. Guest speakers will be on the record and will be so informed in advance.”


All six pro chapters in Region 2 produced good annual reports and recognized areas that they can do better. Keep up the good work.

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