The work of SPJ is largely done at the national committee level. No matter what your passion freedom of information, legal defense, diversity, ethics, freelance, international journalism, First Amendment rights, journalism education SPJ has an outlet for your talents, passion and energy. Click on the committee name to learn more about its work or to contact the chair to find out how you get can get involved.
Awards & Honors
This committee oversees most of the Society's awards, which are dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievement in journalism. Any changes in guidelines, judging criteria, categories or eligibility are reviewed by this committee.
Related content | Awards Committee Roster
Awards & Honors Committee Chair
Bio (click to expand) Andrew is a medical journalist for Reuters Health in New York. Before coming to Reuters Health, he was a Kaiser Media Fellow at Reuterss Washington, D.C. bureau, where he covered the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2011, Andrew graduated from Columbia Universitys Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied investigative journalism as a Stabile Fellow and was named Student of the Year. Andrew also graduated with his B.A. from Wilkes University in 2011.
Hes won numerous awards throughout his short career, including being named a 2010 Tom Bigler Scholar for ethical standards in journalism, the 2009 Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, the 2009 and the Arthur H. Barlow National Student Journalist of the Year Award.
This 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.
SPJ Bylaws | Bylaws Committee Roster
Bylaws Committee Chair
3315 Morrison St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
Bio (click to expand) 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. Hes 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.
SPJs Comunications Committee specializes in the marketing and promotion of the Society's work and the vital role of preserving a free, responsible press in the United States. This committee works largely in an advisory role and is tasked with aiding the development of communications for some of the Society's most significant projects.
Communications Committee Roster
Communications Committee chair
University of Richmond
Director of Media and Public Relations
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
Mark Scarp, vice chair
Adjunct professor, Arizona State University
Bio (click to expand) Mark Scarp has been a journalist for nearly 25 years, writing and editing for several newspapers in the Phoenix area before starting work at what became the East Valley Tribune, based in Mesa, a city of 450,000 just southeast of Phoenix. For 9 1/2 years he was a member of the newspaper's editorial board, writing many of the newspaper's editorials as well as his own column before being laid off in January along with half the Tribune's newsroom. Since January 2008 has been adjunct professor of journalism at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication, teaching mass communications law, journalism ethics and diversity, and news writing and reporting. In October 2009 Mark was hired as membership coordinator for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, which that summer had moved its national headquarters to Arizona State University's journalism school. He works to build membership, raise funds and organize workshops and conferences.
Mark served six years on SPJ's national board of directors, two years on its Executive Committee and one year on its Finance Committee. After his board service, he served three years as chair of the national Membership Committee. He is also active in SPJ's Phoenix chapter, having served six terms as chapter president. He is currently programs chair. As the chapter is a member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Mark was the coalition's president from 2001-2005 and currently serves as its treasurer.
SPJ's Digital Media Committee aims to help news professionals wanting to learn more in a hurry about technology. The committee monitors the continued electronic evolution of the journalism industry and advises the organization on the latest trends so it can prepare journalists for the latest changes.
Net Worked Blog | Digital Media Committee Roster
Digital Media Committee Chair
Manager Student Media
University of Colorado
On both chapter and national levels, SPJ provides an open forum for the discussion of diversity issues in journalism. This committee's purpose is to promote a broader voice in newsrooms across the country and expand the depth and quality of news reports through better sourcing. Its ongoing project is the compilation of experts primarily women, gays and lesbians, people of color and people with disabilities through the Society's Diversity Source Book. The Society's relevance to its member is based on inclusiveness.
Diversity Home Page | Diversity Committee Roster
Diversity Committee Chair
This committee's purpose is to encourage the use of the Society's Code of Ethics, which promotes the highest professional standards for journalists of all disciplines. Public concerns are often answered by this committee. It also acts as a spotter for reporting trends in the nation, accumulating case studies of jobs well done under trying circumstances.
Ethics Home Page | Ethics Committee Roster
Ethics Committee chair
Kevin Z. Smith
Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism
Bio (click to expand) Kevin Z. Smith has been a member of the SPJ ethics committee for 20 years. He is a contributing author to two of SPJ's Doing Ethics in Journalism case study books. He is the co-author of SPJ's 1993 Ethics Manual, a guide for developing better ethical discussions and practices in newsrooms. He served as chairman of the ethics committee from 1995-97 when the Code was revised by the committee. He is serving his fifth year as committee chairman. He is a former president of SPJ (09-10) and a former member of the national and executive boards (06-11). He has been a member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation since 2007. He has been a regular speaker, panelist and lecturer on journalism ethics and delivered talks around the United States and abroad since 1990.
Smith currently serves as a journalism lecturer at the University of Dayton (Ohio). He worked in community newspapers in West Virginia for 15 years before becoming a college professor. He has taught at West Virginia University, Miami Univeristy (Ohio), Fairmont State University (W.Va.) and James Madison University (Va.). In 2009 he was named a Distinguished Mountaineer by the governor of West Virginia, the highest honor bestow upon a citizen of the state. The award came largely from his work with SPJ and journalism ethics.
Fred Brown, vice chair
2862 S. Oakland Ct.
Aurora, Colo., 80014
Bio (click to expand) Fred Brown is a former national president of SPJ (1997-98) and is very active on its ethics committee. He writes a column on ethics for Quill magazine and served on the committee that wrote the Societys 1996 code of ethics.
Brown officially retired from The Denver Post in early 2002, but continues to write a Sunday editorial page column for the newspaper. He also does analysis for Denvers NBC television station, teaches communication ethics at the University of Denver, and is a principal in Hartman & Brown, LLP, a media training and consulting firm. He has won several awards for writing and community service, including a Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial writing in 1988. He is an Honor Alumnus of Colorado State University, a member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame, and serves on the boards of directors of Colorado Public Radio, the Colorado Freedom of Information Council and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.
Finance, Tax and Budget
The finance committee is chaired by the Society's secretary-treasurer. By authority of that position, the committee reviews the annual budget and sets financial goals. Its recommendations on the budget are forwarded to the SPJ board at its spring meeting.
Finance, Tax and Budget Committee Roster
Finance, Tax and Budget Committee Chair
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Virginia Lawyers Weekly
Freedom of Information Committee
This committee is the watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. It relies upon a network of volunteers in each state organized under Project Sunshine. These SPJ members are on the front lines for assaults to the First Amendment and when lawmakers attempt to restrict the public's access to documents and the government's business. The committee often is called upon to intervene in instances where the media is restricted.
FOI Home Page | FOI Committee Roster
Freedom of Information Committee Chair
The Valley Journals
801-254-5974 X 17
Bio (click to expand) Linda Petersen is the managing editor of The Valley Journals, a group of 15 free, total market coverage, monthly community papers in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah.
She is president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, a citizen coalition that works to educate and advocate for open government.
A past president of the Utah Headliners pro chapter, she is currently the chapters FOI officer and treasurer.
For her open government advocacy, she has received the Utah Press Association John E. Jones Award, the Utah Headliners Clifford P. Cheney Service to Journalism Award and the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Chapter Member Award.
The Freelance Committee's purpose is to promote, assist, and build a communication network for freelance reporters, writers, editors, copy editors, photographers, designers and all additional contract journalists. This committee's goal is to bring heightened awareness to freelance journalism. It acts a bridge to connect freelance journalists with editors. This committee is an advocate for freelance journalism. It also provides a professional and social outlet for freelance journalists. This committee encourages reasonable work-pay ratios, respect, and education for the growing number of freelance journalists.
Freelance Home Page | Freelance Committee Roster
Freelance Committee Chair
Freelance Directory Profile
Bio (click to expand) Michael Fitzgerald has freelanced for nearly 10 years, writing for publications and Web sites including the Boston Globe Magazine, BNet, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc., the New York Times and Yahoo! His most recent awards were 2nd place finishes in the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2009 Outstanding Article awards in the Business and Technology and Trade categories. His Web site is www.mffitzgerald.com
Generation J focuses on helping early-stage pros sharpen their skills and bone up on the importance of journalism advocacy.
Generation J Committee Roster
Generation J Committee chair
Bio (click to expand) Victoria Reitano is a Digital Producer at Live! with Kelly. She works at ABC in New York and is so happy to be reunited with her true love - Manhattan. In her spare time, she dabbles with her blog, The Giornalista Files, where she shares her ideas about being an early career lady journo with anyone who will listen. Reitano feels Yoga is the perfect compliment to her obsessive need to consume information on a constant basis and when she's not practicing that, she's cycling at one studio or another as spin is the perfect compliment to her Staten Island background fist pump, anyone? Connect with her on Twitter @giornalista515 for laughs, thoughts and some tricks of the trade.
The International Journalism Committee works to improve and protect international journalism and encourage the free practice of journalism in all countries.
International Journalism Home Page | IJC Roster
International Journalism Committee Chair
Assistant City Editor
Bio (click to expand) Ricardo Sandoval is Assistant City Editor at the Sacramento Bee newspaper. He supervises the papers environment, science and regional development teams of reporters. Before joining The Bee, Sandoval was a foreign correspondent, based in Mexico City, for the Dallas Morning News and Knight Ridder Newspapers. Sandoval was born in Mexico and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated with a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in Northern California. His career has spanned three decades and has included award-winning coverage of California agriculture, immigration, the savings and loan scandal and the deregulation of public utility companies. His list of awards includes the Overseas Press Club, the InterAmerican Press Club, the Gerald Loeb prize for business journalism and two honors from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Sandoval co-authored with his wife, journalist Susan Ferriss the biography The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement published in 1997 by Harcourt.
Ronnie Lovler, vice chair
Bio (click to expand) Ronnie Lovler is associate director of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University. She is also senior writer for the nonprofit Newsdesk.org, and its public-interest news service, News You Might Have Missed. In addition to serving as international committee chair, Ronnie is a member of the executive board of the northern California chapter of SPJ. Ronnie taught journalism at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to San Francisco.
Ronnies journalism career spans several decades. She served as bureau chief and correspondent for CNN in Latin America for almost 10 years. During her time at CNN, she reported from every country in Latin America. She also worked for CBS News, The Weather Channel and The Associated Press, as well as The San Juan Star in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was part of a team of observers headed by President Jimmy Carter monitoring electoral processes in Nicaragua (2001) and Venezuela (2004). During the 2005 U.S. hurricane season, Ms. Lovler worked with the American Red Cross as a volunteer crisis communicator and public information officer. She received her undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and her graduate degree in communications at the University of Florida.
This committee's purpose is to promote excellence in education programs and practical research. It acts as a clearinghouse for the Society's academic members and students. It also works with annual convention planners on mentor programs both at the college and high school level.
Tools for Students | Tools for Educators | J-Ed Committee Roster
Journalism Education Committee Chair
Becky Tallent, Ed.D.
School of Journalism and Mass Media
University of Idaho
Bio (click to expand) Rebecca J. Becky Tallent is an award-winning journalist and public relations specialist with more than 12 years experience as an energy/environmental and financial journalist plus an additional 16 years experience as a public relations specialist and five years as an educator. She is currently an assistant professor of journalism and mass media at the University of Idaho.
Beckys experience as a reporter and editor inside Oklahoma was with the Daily Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, Oklahoma Business News Co. (where she was reporter and editor of the Oklahoma Energy/Environment Report) and as editor of the Oklahoma Banker. She has also covered energy and environmental issues for McGraw-Hills News, Inc. of New York (Platts Oilgram News, Engineering Week and Green Markets); Reuters U.S. Financial, Inc. based in New York; and the Washington, D.C.-based Oil Daily.
As a public relations specialist, Becky has represented the University Hospitals, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board and Epworth Villa (a not-for profit retirement community). From 2002-2006, she was a public relations specialist with Evergreen Productions, Inc. of Oklahoma City where she represented the City of Lawton (OK), Tidal School Vineyards and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Her expertise in public relations is writing/publications, working with the news media and crisis communications.
Before Idaho, Becky taught journalism at Bishop McGuinness High School, Southwestern College, the University of Phoenix, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Some of Beckys most recent awards include: 2003 Faculty Member of the Year, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; first place, 2001, American Marketers Association, Oklahoma City Chapter, Marketing Campaign for Epworth Villa; second place, 2001, Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma Chapter, not-for-profit publications (Epworth Villa); first place, 2000, Society of Professional Journalists, not-for-profit publications (The Oklahoma Banker); and the 1999 Award of Merit from the Oklahoma Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators for the Oklahoma Banker.
Becky has been a member of SPJ since 1972 when she joined the University of Central Oklahoma student chapter. She joined the Oklahoma Professional Chapter in 1977 and became a member of the Snake River Chapter in 2006. She has served on numerous local and national committees for SPJ. Beckys dedication to the Society lies in her belief that service in SPJ is a way to contribute something back to the profession.
Becky earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (1975) and her Master of Education in Journalism (1977) from the University of Central Oklahoma. She earned her Doctorate of Education in Classroom Teaching/Mass Communications from Oklahoma State University in 1995.
June Nicholson, vice chair
Director of Graduate Studies
School of Mass Communications
Virginia Commonwealth University
901 W. Main Street
Room 1108 Temple Building
Richmond, VA 23284-2034
(804) 827-0251 (office)
Fax: (804) 828-9175
Bio (click to expand) June O. Nicholson, an associate professor in the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., has chaired national SPJs Journalism Education Committee since 2000. She has been a member of several other national SPJ committees over the past two decades. She is co-developer of the SPJ newsroom training module on covering diverse communities. Nicholson also is a former president of the Virginia professional chapter of SPJ.
At VCU, Nicholson teaches government, enterprise and project reporting and coverage of specialized beats such as science, health, education, urban affairs and the environment. She also teaches a course on International Media Coverage: The Middle East. Before joining the VCU faculty, she was a reporter and editor for some 15 years in North Carolina and Virginia. She is a former acting director, associate director and assistant director of the VCU School of Mass Communications. Nicholson holds a masters degree in public affairs journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I am a member of SPJ because I believe the organization plays a vital role in protecting the First Amendment, free speech and freedom of information in this country.
Legal Defense Fund
This committee oversees the Society's Legal Defense Fund, a unique account that can be tapped for providing journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. Application to the fund is approved by either a small committee or the national board, depending on the level of assistance sought. The committee works throughout the year raising funds for LDF.
LDF Home Page | LDF Committee Roster
Legal Defense Fund Committee Chair
1720 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Bio (click to expand) Hagit Limors other experience with SPJ includes stints as National President; National President-Elect; National Secretary-Treasurer; National Membership Committee; National Finance Committee Chair; current National Legal Defense Fund Committee chair; National Chair of Executive Director Search Committee; Board Member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; and Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter President, membership chairman and current board member.
Outside of SPJ, she serves in dual roles as a professor at the University of Cincinnati's Electronic Media Department and as WCPO-TV's Emmy and national award-winning investigative reporter. At WCPO, she's served as an anchor, general assignment reporter, and currently as investigative reporter. Her abilities as a writer and reporter have garnered Hagit more than 100 national, state and local awards, including ten Emmy awards, a National Headliner Award, three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards and as a national finalist with the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association.
Hagit received bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.
At home, she shares life with her husband Jeff, her son Jake, a dog and two cats.
This committee follows membership trends in the Society and recommends membership recruitment drives to the national board and executive director. It is called upon to review chapter requirements, dues, organizational structure and other quality-of-life issues affecting the membership.
Why Join? | Member Resources | Membership Committee Roster
Membership Committee Chair
P.O. Box 6231
Kent, Wash. 98064
Bio (click to expand) After a career in financial services, Dana (Blozis) Neuts began freelancing in 2003. Based in Kent, Washington, Dana is a freelance writer and editor as well as the owner and publisher of iLoveKent.net and iLoveCovington.com, hyperlocal blogs. Her work has appeared in many Seattle-area publications as well as national publications including GSN: Government Security News, HS Today and American Profile. She is past-president of the award-winning Western Washington Pro Chapter of SPJ, serves as the Region 10 Director of SPJ, is a member of the membership committee, and chairman of the freelance committee. She previously served on the SDX foundation board and has been a facilitator for Scripps. For more information, please visit VirtuallyYourz.com. Specialties: Business Writing and Editing, Features, Humor, Small Business, Nonprofits, Finance, Insurance, Travel, and Marketing Consulting and Implementation including Social Media.
The nominations committee has a single goal: to recruit the best and brightest of SPJ members to run for national offices. The immediate past president of the Society automatically serves in this role.
Nominations Committee Chair
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, Ark. 72201
Bio (click to expand) Sonny Albarado is projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a statewide, family-owned daily newspaper based in Little Rock. As projects editor, he supervises a staff of two reporters and assists other editors and reporters in long-term investigative and explanatory journalism.
Albarado has worked as a journalist since 1970, when he became editor of his college newspaper. His first professional newspaper job began in December 1972 in Houma, La. Except for an 18-month period when he helped a couple of friends start a monthly trade magazine in New Orleans, he has worked in newspapers all of his professional life.
He doesnt count the year he was a part-time disc jockey as work.
He has been an SPJ member since March 1979, joining in hopes of starting a chapter in the rural area he covered for the daily paper in Baton Rouge, La. Baton Rouge had an active press club but no SPJ chapter. He was president of the press club in 1988-89 and received the local PRSA chapters Communicator of the Year award in 1988.
After moving to Memphis in 1989, he joined the Mid-South Pro SPJ Chapter. He became chapter president in 1992 and remained president throughout most of the 1990s. He also served as secretary-treasurer and chairman of the chapters contest committee in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Albarado became SPJ Region 12 director at the 2006 convention. As regional director, he also became co-director with Region 3s director of the annual Green Eyeshade Awards program, which recognizes excellence among journalists in 11 southeastern states.
The Professional Development Committee ensures a broad range of professional development programs offered by the Society.
Training Home Page | Committee Roster
Professional Development Committee Chair
Deb Halpern Wenger
University of Mississippi
Bio (click to expand) Deb Halpern Wenger, a 17-year broadcast news veteran, is assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. Prior to her academic appointments, Deb was assistant news director at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla. Wenger conducts multimedia training in newsrooms around the country and is coauthor of the broadcast, online and multimedia journalism curricula for the Society of Professional Journalists Newsroom Training Program. She is also chair of SPJs Professional Development Committee and has been a visiting faculty member for The Poynter Institute and has been part of the Committee of Concerned Journalists Traveling Curriculum through the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Wenger is co-author of a journalism textbook, Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World and produces a multimedia blog: advancingthestory.wordpress.com.
The Resolutions Committee meets annually at the Society's National Convention. The group is charged with presenting timely issues for debate before the Society's voting delegates. Its members serve to keep order at business meetings of the Society and to facilitate thoughtful debate. Drafts of resolutions can be submitted by any member of the Society either prior to, or during, convention.
Resolutions Committee Chair
Gordon "Mac" McKerral
Western Kentucky University
140 Bright St. Apt. C
Bowling Green, KY 42104
Work: (270) 745-5882
Bio (click to expand) Gordon Mac McKerral is an associate professor and the news-editorial sequence coordinator in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University.
He served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists September 2003 to September 2004. In October 2005, he received the SPJs highest award, The Wells Key, for longtime contributions to journalism and SPJs mission. He received a national First Amendment Award from SPJ for his work with the Campus Courts Task Force, which focused on gaining public access to campus crime records and campus judiciary records related to hearings on crimes.
McKerral has spent more than 25 years as a journalist and journalism educator. He has been a reporter and editor at newspapers in Illinois, Indiana, Florida and New York and Indiana.
Stay Tuned Blog | SPJ @ Blog Talk Radio | Committee Roster
Studio SPJ Committee Chair
The Bergen Record
Bio (click to expand) John Ensslin is a reporter at The Record in northern New Jersey, where he covers Bergen County government.
Born in Jersey City, N.J, he started in daily journalism at his hometown paper, The Hudson Dispatch. He went on to work for The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Co. and The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Co.
He is a graduate of Columbia University.
He is a past president of The Denver Press Club and a member of its Hall of Fame. He helped start the club's annual Damon Runyon Award. Before becoming SPJ president in September 2011, he served as president of the Colorado Pro SPJ chapter, national membership committee chair, Region 9 director and secretary-treasurer. He also served as co-chair of the SPJ national convention and was named regional director of the year in 2010. He is a past winner of the William Burleigh/Scripps Foundation Community Service award.
He and his wife Denise live in West Milford, N.J.