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Home > About SPJ > Committees > Bylaws

Bylaws Committee Roster

The Bylaws Committee strives to ensure the Society conducts its business and operations according to the Society's bylaws. SPJ's bylaws aim to unite members and promote good fellowship among them.

Bylaws Committee Chair

Robert Becker
3315 Morrison St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
(202) 364-8013
Bio (click to expand) picture Robert Becker has served on the Bylaws Committee since 2001 and has been the D.C.Pro Chapter's FOI chair since about 1992. Additionally, Becker serves as the D.C. Sunshine Chair, and the Mid-Atlantic Region member of the National FOI Committee. In this position, he provides advice and information on access to journalists and others in the D.C. metropolitan area. Most recently, Becker has been working with the Maryland, Delaware and D.C. Press Association to draft a new open meetings law for D.C. He’s worked with National (SPJ) to oppose a bill that would have exempted Virginia legislative committees from the state open meetings law, and he worked with the D.C. City Council Judiciary Committee on amendments to the D.C. open records law and the D.C. open meetings law. Becker has assisted students at a Montgomery County high school who, as part of their course work, aired controversial programs on the school board's cable channel. Recently, he actively opposed proposed restrictions on public access to federal court case files over the Internet. Working with the National FOI Chairman, Becker developed a program to train journalists, news managers and media outlet owners on the importance of defending public access to government information. He regularly addresses groups of foreign journalists and government officials visiting the United States on access to government information and has done training projects in Ethiopia, Morrocco, Argentina and Urugua on issues related to press freedom.
Bylaws Committee Members

Dave Aeikens
Bio (click to expand) picture Dave Aeikens was SPJ’s president in 2007-2008 and served as national secretary-treasurer in 2006-2007. He was SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund Chairman from October of 2005 to October 2007. He served as Region 6 director for six years and Minnesota Pro Chapter president and secretary. He has been a reporter and editor at the St. Cloud Times for 14 years. He has covered schools, state government and served as the paper's night city editor for four years. He has worked 17 years in daily journalism in Minnesota. He and a colleague wrote articles that showed some government agencies in Minnesota were charging more than state law allowed for paper copies of government data. They won numerous awards for the stories and the Legislature changed state law to limit what governments can charge to 25 cents a page. He is an aficionado of Minnesota open records laws and has one numerous Freedom of Information awards. He is a member of the Minnesota Join Media committee and was honored in 2000 and 2006 with the President’s Award, which the Minnesota Pro Chapter gives for meritorious service. He was one of the founding organizers of the Midwest Journalism Conference, which jointly is the SPJ Region 6 conference combined with five other media organizations. With more than 300 attendees, it is one of the most successful regional conferences in the country.

He chaired the Marquette Tribune Task Force in 2006, which issued a report on the events that led to the dismissal of the Marquette Tribune advisor.

David E. Carlson
Bio (click to expand) picture David Carlson is executive director of the Center For Media Innovation + Research and Cox/Palm Beach Post Professor of New Media at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. He was a pioneer in the development of interactive newspaper products and was part of a team that created the first journalism related Web site in the world in the fall of 1993.

Carlson holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from Drake University. He resides in Florida with his wife, Jeanne.

Amy Fickling
Bio (click to expand) picture Amy Fickling has more than 25 years of professional experience as a reporter and editor. She currently is editor of a business-to-business newsletter, Platts Energy Trader, targeting traders, marketers and investors in energy markets, in particular the natural gas and electric power markets. Platts is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Her career started in 1979 with a reporting and editing stint at a New York Times Regional Newspaper Group six-day-a-week paper, The Dispatch, in Lexington, NC. After nine months as a general assignment reporter, she moved up to being wire editor. She also spent about a year with another NYTRENG paper, The Times-Daily in Florence, AL, as a copy editor and layout person for three zoned editions nightly.

Taking a break to get a master's degree in journalism and public affairs at The American University in Washington, DC, in 1984-85, she then returned to full-time work, beginning with a four-year turn (1985-1989) at the Gazette Newspapers, Montgomery County, MD, first as managing editor of Olney Courier-Gazette, then as managing editor of the Bethesda Gazette when it was started up as a "down-county" extension of the traditionally up county circulation area.

She spent three years at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, MD, as a copy editor. Then she moved into the Washington, DC, journalism market, working at such diverse newsletter publishing companies as Stevens Publishing (OSHA and EPA coverage); Telecommunications Reports International, Inc. (now a unit of CCH Inc.), (telecom, specifically Internet and e-commerce applications, coverage); and now McGraw Hill's Platts division.

She also spent two years as an assistant news editor with the Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News desk, also in Washington, DC (now McClatchy-Tribune), before taking her current position.

She is a past president of the Washington, DC, chapter of SPJ, past two-term Region 2 director, current member of the DC-SPJ scholarship committee and 2007 SPJ National Convention local planning committee in Washington, and, of course, on the national SPJ Bylaws Committee. Also, she is a member of the National Press Club and past chairman of the NPC's Freedom of Information and Professional Affairs committees and member of the Club's division championship softball team, which competes in the Metropolitan Media Softball League against Washington, DC, teams from CBS News,, the Washington Post, ABC News, ComCast, and many more.

Irwin Gratz
Bio (click to expand) picture Irwin Gratz is Morning Edition Producer for Maine Public Broadcasting. He's worked as a radio news anchor and reporter for nearly 30 years and also holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from New York University.

Gratz has been a member of the Society since 1983. He was a charter member of the Maine Pro Chapter and has served as its Treasurer and President. He served on the national board of SPJ from 1998 to 2006 and was the Society's national President in 2004-2005.

Kelly Hawes
Bio (click to expand) picture Kelly Hawes, 52, is managing editor of the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, an 11,000-circulation newspaper in north central Indiana.

Before moving to Logansport, he was a reporter for The Galveston County Daily News, a 30,000-circulation newspaper on the Texas Gulf Coast. A 30-year veteran of the newspaper industry, Hawes has won numerous awards as a reporter and as an editorial writer. He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh in 1996.

He is a past national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and a former member of that organization's Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors. He is also a former member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame Association board of directors and a former member of the World Press Freedom Committee and the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science at Indiana University.

Bill McCloskey
Bio (click to expand) picture Bill McCloskey, chairman of the SPJ Bylaws Committee and a member of SPJ’s Public Outreach Committee, is the retired Washington, D.C.-based Director of Media Relations for AT&T, formerly BellSouth Corp.

Before joining AT&T in 1987, Bill worked for 11 years with The Associated Press in Washington.

Bill's professional career started in 1961, when, as a high school junior, he took a summer newsroom job at Metromedia's WIP Radio in Philadelphia. He remained with Metromedia in Philadelphia until he was drafted into the Army upon graduation from Villanova University in 1966.

Ironically, the Army assigned him to the information office of the 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam where he wrote press releases about the Army's telephone system.

Following his tour of duty, he was assigned by Metromedia to set up a news department for WASH FM in Washington. From 1968 until 1975, he worked as news director, network correspondent and TV news producer and writer for Metromedia in Washington.

Bill chairs the Radio and Television News Director’s Association Foundation’s annual fund-raising dinner. He is past president of the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was the Society’s Region 2 director. He has been recognized three times with SPJ’s “President’s Award” for distinguished service to the Society.

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