SPJ 2020 Journalism Conference • Sept. 12-13, 2020



President-elect race heats up as elections near

By Billy O'Keefe

By Kristin Longley
Michigan State University
For the first time in years — maybe even SPJ’s history — the race for the president-elect seat is actually a race.
In years past, the secretary-treasurer has run unopposed for the seat on the national board, which is held for a year before the occupant becomes president. But this year, Secretary-treasurer Bruce L. Cadwallader is facing challenger Clint Brewer.
All the candidates for the national board elections will speak at the conference’s opening business session, at 7:45 a.m. today in Regency C, Gold Level, West Tower. Elections take place Saturday.
This is the first time in many SPJ officials’ memories that the president-elect race is contested, and it’s igniting some sparks.
Brewer says he’s upholding journalistic principles by eradicating the unspoken rule, while Cadwallader says he believes in SPJ tradition, and a challenge “for the right reasons” is welcome.
But does Cadwallader think Brewer’s running for the right reasons?“I question his timing,” said Cadwallader, an Ohio resident who’s worked at the national level for 12 years. “I think I’m the better candidate by far, but I’ll always encourage future leaders to step up.”
Brewer, Region 12 director and Tennessee resident, said delegates “want a choice” for this seat.
“All I’ve ever heard in acceptance speeches is, ‘We should have contested elections,’ but we’ve never had them,” he said. “We fight against insular, good-old-boy, cutting deals behind the scenes government, and I can’t stand the fact that SPJ might have something like that on its board.”




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