A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Have a say in SPJ’s future

By Quill

On Nov. 18, members of the SPJ and SDX Foundation boards, committee leaders and staff met in Denver to begin the process of an ongoing dialogue about SPJ’s future. A facilitator was used to help keep the group on task. The discussions were lively, productive and at times even a bit contentious.

The desired outcome was to come up a set of “stretch” goals to guide SPJ’s programs and services in the coming years. It was not the mission of this small group to determine how to reach the goals; that will come later with input from the membership.

Throughout the course of the day, the group talked extensively how best to meet the needs of the Society’s membership in the face of the changing landscape of journalism. The discussions resulted in the following six strategic goals that SPJ will work to achieve during the next three to five years:

Media Credibility

The Goal: The public will have more confidence in the news media.

Objectives for this area will address the Society’s Code of Ethics and other tools that can be used to ensure the highest standards of journalistic integrity which will result in greater public trust and confidence in the media.


The Goal: Content and participation in Society programs and services and involvement in the Society’s leadership and membership will reflect greater demographic and discipline diversity.

Objectives for this area will integrate and institutionalize inclusiveness in all Society efforts so they are relevant to the diverse individuals (both in terms of demographics and discipline) represented in the profession.

Member Engagement

The Goal: Neither time nor place will be a barrier to involvement in the Society or its programs or services.

Objectives for this area will enhance the use of electronic media and forums to deliver and archive programs and services, as well as facilitate the work of Society volunteers.

Professional Development

The Goal: Members will be better prepared to achieve excellence and remain relevant in the face of changes in the profession.

Objectives for this area will help members remain abreast of current and future changes in journalism practice, as well as support their ability to achieve excellence as journalistic forms and practices evolve.

Society Operations

The Goal: Innovation, effectiveness, and action will permeate all levels of the Society’s leadership and overall operations.

Objectives for this area will strengthen the Society’s volunteer and staff operations to leverage the knowledge and contributions of individuals in the most efficient and effective manner producing better results.

Press Freedom

The Goal: Fewer impediments to the free flow of information will exist.

Objectives for this area will focus on ensuring relevant journalistic freedoms and protections are maintained and enhanced as the profession’s discipline evolves.

Over the holidays, the full SPJ board was asked to review the six goals and weigh in as to whether they thought we were on the right path. An overwhelming majority of the board concurred. Now, it’s your turn.

An online survey has been created. There you will have the opportunity to share your opinions as to whether you think the six goals collectively represent the most strategic accomplishments for SPJ to achieve in the coming three to five years. You also will be asked to share your ideas and suggestions as to how the Society can achieve the goals. This is your opportunity to share that great idea you’ve been bouncing around. And if you’re willing to get involved and help bring your idea to fruition, you can tell us that, too. The survey will be open through Feb. 28.

When the SPJ board meets in Indianapolis on May 19, it plans to select about five objectives in support of each goal. It is important to note that this is an ongoing and fluid process. Nothing is chiseled in stone. Progress toward the goals will be evaluated regularly and adjustments will be made as necessary.

The Society of Professional Journalists is your organization. Seize this opportunity to have a voice — and a role — in its future!

Note: Those who participated in the discussions in Denver included Dave Aeikens, Clint Brewer, Fred Brown, Joel Campbell, Steve Geimann, Julie Grimes, Terry Harper, Deb Hurley, Nathan Isaacs, Sally Lehrman, Mead Loop, Michelle Malasky, Billy O’Keefe, Richard Roth, Joe Skeel, Christine Tatum and Chris Vachon.