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



Campaign fliers spark debate

By Billy O'Keefe

By Kristin Longley
Michigan State University
Campaign literature being circulated at the convention has sparked attention, escalating the race for president-elect into a heated political battle.

David Carlson, president of SPJ, introduces speakers at the business session Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. (Photo by Rachael Strecher, Columbia College)

David Carlson, president of SPJ, introduces speakers at the business session Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. (Photo by Rachael Strecher, Columbia College)

Candidates Clint Brewer and Secretary-Treasurer Bruce L. Cadwallader are competing for the seat, which transitions to the presidency a year later.
Brewer says campaign literature advocating Cadwallader and secretary-treasurer candidate Jim Parker as “SPJ’s winning team” is against National Board policy and brings Cadwallader’s judgment as a potential president into question. The postcard-sized literature was placed this week on tables and chairs at convention sessions.
Brewer referred to the two candidates as a “political machine.”
SPJ President David Carlson said he is “virtually certain” members have campaigned together in past elections. However, board policy states a member can’t actively campaign for someone else, which Brewer said is the case with his opponent.
Attendees of the business session watch campaign speeches Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. (Photo by Rachael Strecher, Columbia College)

Attendees of the business session watch campaign speeches Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. (Photo by Rachael Strecher, Columbia College)

Cadwallader said he is not campaigning for Parker, and that the cards were paid for by Parker.
Cadwallader doesn’t regret the move, however he said “it would have been nice to have a disclaimer” that said Parker printed the cards.
Cadwallader said it wasn’t his idea, he had no input on content, but did know Parker was planning literature with his name on it. Cadwallader said it was simply a show of support between best friends. He said he’s also friends with secretary-treasurer candidates Dave Aeikens and Joe Wessels. Cadwallader said his campaign logo was taken from an e-mail by Parker without his knowledge.
“I don’t apologize for encouraging my friend to follow in my footsteps,” Cadwallader said. “An unfortunate byproduct is that some people perceived (the literature) as my doing.”
He said he was aware of the policy prohibiting board members from campaigning for others.
“But National Board members are sometimes in the best position to judge a candidate’s abilities to lead and it is our job to encourage new leaders,” he said.
Parker said the board policy is outdated. He said he paid for and printed the postcard-sized literature because he “got a great deal” from the printing company. He said he’s campaigning for Cadwallader — not the other way around.
“Bruce has upheld every rule,” Parker said. “Did he tell me not to do it? No. But who’s going to do that? If someone called me and offered free campaign support I’d say yes.” Parker said he and Cadwallader “don’t always agree on everything,” and aren’t running on the same platform.
Aeikens and Wessels, Parker’s opponents, both say they are indifferent to Parker’s campaign methods. But, they pointed out, they’re running independent races free of affiliations.
Brewer said he wants to uncover any “unethical practices” because it appears Cadwallader is handpicking his secretary-treasurer.
“I’m not doing it because I dislike anybody,” Brewer said. “I’m doing it because I dislike the system.”




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