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



Board may choose executive director soon

By Billy O'Keefe

Story and photo by Meagan E. Racey
The Society of Professional Journalists’ new executive director may be chosen by November, an SPJ officer said during the board of directors meeting Thursday.

President-elect Kevin Z. Smith, right, presents a gift to President Dave Aeikens, left, during the board of directors meeting Thursday. in the State Room.

President-elect Kevin Z. Smith, right, presents a gift to President Dave Aeikens, left, during the board of directors meeting Thursday. in the State Room.

The executive director search committee conducted phone interviews during last week with 20 of the original 180 applicants. The eight-person committee chose fewer than 10 finalists Thursday. Personal interviews with the finalists will take place during the next month. The committee will then make a recommendation to the full board, which will make the final decision.
“We are very excited about the quality of people we have interviewed for this position,” said Hagit Limor, SPJ secretary-treasurer and search committee co-chair. The new executive director will charter a course for SPJ at one of its most important times in history, she said.
Former Executive Director Terry Harper died June 2 after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
The board, officially meeting for the last time this year, also:
• Restored the power of the president to appoint committee chairs. A 2007 motion set committee term limits at five years, but that policy violated SPJ bylaws by limiting presidential authority. Only convention delegates may change bylaws, which give the president power to “appoint and assign duties to committees that the president deems necessary.”
• Revised chapter reporting standards and how chapters are ranked. Regional directors will now have to contact professional chapters for quarterly reports. The chapters still must submit annual reports. Criteria for chapter rankings now take into account economic conditions.
• Voted to establish an endowment for the Terry Harper Memorial Fund. The proceeds will fund scholarships for SPJ members to attend SPJ professional development programs. The memorial fund committee is working out the scholarship process and amounts. Members have raised about $9,000 so far.
• Decided to create an online SPJ Career Toolkit. Holly Edgell, Region 7 director, said plans for the toolkit include up-to-date career training sections, a professional advice blog, a guide to finding free resources and building multimedia platforms, links to journalism job sites and a resume and cover letter clinic.




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