August 1st, 2006 • Quill Archives
SPJ should change election procedures to ensure fairness
A lot of SPJ members know exactly how the American colonists felt at the time of the Boston Tea Party. Like the men and women of 1773, many SPJ members pay their “taxes,” but they have no vote in SPJ’s national elections.
June 30th, 2006 • Quill Archives
Journalists: Be willing to engage the business side
Conrad Fink is a man I believe we should listen to about the future of the news business. My travels this spring took me to the heart of Georgia, the University of Georgia in Athens, where Fink is the William S.
When I moved to Gainesville, Fla., in 1993, there were 17 newspaper racks in front of the building where I work. Gainesville is not a big city, but quite a number of great daily newspapers from Florida and the nation were available in those racks.
SPJ is an old and venerable organization. During our 97-year history, we have carried the torch for journalism ethics, freedom of information, journalism education and more. But we have carried that torch almost exclusively in the United States. I think it’s time to change that.
The original resolution seemed innocent enough, I guess. It suggested that the nations involved in the Six Party Talks in North Korea needed to negotiate in good faith. It said, “The participating countries have an obligation to seek peace and reach an agreement rather than bicker over status.”
It is time to change the way we elect our SPJ leaders. For most of our history, SPJ has operated with a chapter system, and that system makes so much sense that many newer journalism organizations have copied it. It’s a great idea to have local groups conduct programs and activities that support our core missions.
Journalism, to me, is about helping people. It’s about telling stories that get laws changed. It’s about telling stories that save lives. It’s about pointing fingers at what needs to be pointed out. It’s about sending criminals to jail and setting the innocent free.
President’s note It’s been more than 30 years since I first spied a president’s column in Quill. The words in those columns seemed wise, clear-sighted, astute, and the people in those photographs seemed unapproachable, secluded atop a pedestal somewhere that was far beyond my ability to climb.