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Home > About SPJ > Committees

Committees

The work of SPJ is largely done at the national committee level. No matter what your passion — freedom of information, 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

Andy Schotz
The Gazette
Gaithersburg, Md.
@spjregion2
Email

Sarah Bauer, vice chair
Program Director
Minnesota Newspaper Association
612-278-0250
E-mail
Twitter
Bio (click to expand) Sarah Bauer is the Program Director for the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA). MNA is the trade association all Minnesota Newspapers, and represents the interests of more than 360 daily and weekly publications. Bauer plans all educational and outreach programs for the Association, including hands-on training for journalists, public forums on media issues, an annual excellence in journalism contest, and its annual convention.

Bauer speaks regularly about media ethics issues, community journalism, social media, and issues like the intersection of journalism and politics. Bauer graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in journalism and philosophy. She has been involved with the Society of Professional Journalists as member and chapter leader since she joined the University of Minnesota’s chapter. Since 2006, Bauer has served on the MN Pro chapter board of directors, currently serving as the chapter president and chair of its annual journalism award contest and banquet. She is also the chairwoman of the Society’s national membership committee.


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Bylaws

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

Robert Becker
3315 Morrison St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
(202) 364-8013
E-mail
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.


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Diversity

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

April Bethea
Online Producer
The Charlotte Observer
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) April Bethea is an online producer at The Charlotte Observer where she helps highlight, curate and create content for their website and other digital platforms. She joined the online team in 2013 after more than eight years as a reporter covering topics including county government, education, and breaking news.

Bethea is secretary of the Greater Charlotte SPJ chapter. She was a 2013 SPJ Diversity Leadership Fellow and a 2013 Ted Scripps Leadership Institute graduate. Nashville will be her third Excellence in Journalism conference.

Bethea also is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and served as president of its Charlotte chapter when it re-launched nearly a decade ago. She was a fellow this spring with the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

Outside of work, Bethea volunteers with Hands on Charlotte and enjoys attending local theatre productions when she can.


Georgiana Vines, vice chair
Retired Associate Editor
Knoxville News Sentinel
E-mail



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Ethics

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

Andrew Seaman
Email
@andrewmseaman
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 Reuters’s Washington, D.C. bureau, where he covered the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2011, Andrew graduated from Columbia University’s 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.

He’s 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.


Monica Guzman, vice chair
Email
@moniguzman
Bio (click to expand) Monica is a Sunday columnist for The Seattle Times and a weekly columnist for GeekWire, covering issues in digital life. She was a juror for the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes, serves on the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute and contributed the closing chapter, “Community As an End,” to the 2013 Poynter book “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century.” From 2007 to 2010, Monica launched and ran the innovative Big Blog at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and seattlepi.com, complementing news and culture coverage with weekly reader meetups. From 2010 to 2012 she developed user communities for Seattle startups like Intersect, Trover and Glympse before kicking off her Times column.

A member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community, Monica emcees the popular quarterly community speaker series Ignite Seattle and is assisting the American Press Institute with a newsroom innovation project. Monica served on the ethics code revision task force and is an active member of the Western Washington Pro chapter of SPJ. She is currently serving as chapter president.



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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

David Cuillier
Assistant Professor
Department of Journalism
University of Arizona
Marshall Building, Room 323
Tucson, Ariz. 85721-0158
Work: 520/626-9694
Fax: 520/621-7557
Email
@DavidCuillier
Bio (click to expand) David Cuillier, Ph.D., is director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where he researches and teaches access to public records, and is co-author with Charles Davis of "The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records." He served as FOI chair 2007-11 before becoming a national officer and serving as SPJ president in 2013-14.

Before entering academia, he was a newspaper reporter and editor in the Pacific Northwest. He has testified before Congress on FOI issues twice and provides newsroom training in access on behalf of SPJ. His long-term goal is to see a unified coalition of journalism organizations fighting for press freedom and funded through an endowed FOI war chest.


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Freelance

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 Community Chair

Michael Fitzgerald
E-mail
Twitter
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

Anna Pratt, vice chair
E-mail
Twitter
Freelance Directory Profile



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Generation J

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

Claudia Amezcua
@ClaudiaAmezcua
Bio (click to expand) picture Claudia Amezcua is freelance multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her clients include CNN, KFON-TV, and InlandEmpire.com. Previously, she served as anchor/reporter for 90.1 KSAK where she won numerous awards in entertainment reporting and best use of sound. Additionally, Claudia dabbles in sports blogging from a women's perspective via her blog A Chicks Guide 2 Sports. She is also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a 2014 graduate of Scripps. Read more about her life at claudiaamezcua.com.

Jennifer Nicole Sullivan
E-mail
@trendyjenny
Bio (click to expand) picture Jennifer Nicole Sullivan is the vintage clothing writer/editor at About.com in New York City. She also writes about fashion, arts and entertainment for Newport Mercury and various publications. Previously, Jennifer was a copywriter at Real Simple (a Time Inc. magazine), a staff writer at Newport Mercury in Rhode Island and a features reporter at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Her work has appeared in Quartz (QZ.com), Real Simple, Quill, Rhode Island Home & Design, Military Spouse, Newport Patch and several other publications.

Additionally, Jennifer lived in Yokosuka, Japan, for two years and taught English to Japanese children and adults. The Dallas native graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in radio-TV-film and theater and from The University of Rhode Island with a master’s degree in English. Read her published articles at jennifernicolesullivan.com.


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Journalism Education

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

Butler Cain
Assistant Professor/Mass Communication
West Texas A&M University
Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Room 269
Canyon, TX
806-651-2414
E-mail
@ButlerCain
Bio (click to expand) Butler Cain is an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. He received a Ph.D. in Media History from the University of Alabama, where he also received degrees in Journalism. He spent a decade as news director of Alabama Public Radio in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before moving to South Korea to teach English language skills to Korean students.

Butler has been a member of SPJ since 1997. He is a founding member of the Texas Panhandle Pro SPJ chapter in Amarillo, Texas, and has served on the Journalism Education Committee and the International Journalism Committee. Butler blogs about travel and journalism at butlercain.com.


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
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) picture June O. Nicholson, a professor of journalism in the School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., chaired national SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee from 2000-2007. She is former chair of the SPJ's International Journalism Committee and has been a member of other national SPJ committees over the past several 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.

Nicholson is the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communications Education Award from Commission on the Status of Women of the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. In 2008, she was recipient of the Robert Knight Multicultural Award for promoting diversity in America's newsrooms, given by AEJMC's Scholastic Journalism Division. She was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of VCU's College of Humanities in 2007 for contributions to VCU and the journalism profession. She is serving a second term as president of the University Faculty Senate through August 2015.

Nicholson teaches senior-level capstone undergraduate government, enterprise and project reporting courses and coverage of specialized areas such as science, health, education, urban affairs and the environment. She also teaches a graduate course on International Journalism in the M.S. program in Mass Communications with a specialization in multimedia journalism. Before joining the VCU faculty, she was a reporter and editor for more than a dozen years in North Carolina and Virginia. She holds a master’s 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.


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Membership

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

Robyn Davis Sekula
502-608-6125
Email
@itsRobynwithay

Bio (click to expand)
Robyn Davis Sekula is President of the Louisville Pro Chapter of SPJ. She is a Twitter addict, iPhone-a-holic, writer, speaker and social media consultant. She has spoken frequently at regional SPJ conferences and in 2012 at the national Excellence in Journalism Conference. She spent most of her pre-freelance career as a newspaper reporter, working as a crime and courts reporter in North Carolina, a business editor in Missouri and as a reporter at Business First in Louisville, Ky. She primarily consults with organizations and business in public relations, communications plans and social media strategy. You can find her web site at robyndavissekula.com, follow her on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, add her on Instagram, and, of course, add her on Yo (user name itsRobynwithay).


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Resolutions

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.

Committee Roster

Resolutions Committee Chair

Sonny Albarado
Projects Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, Ark. 72201
501/244-4321
Email
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 doesn’t 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 chapter’s “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 chapter’s 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 3’s director of the annual Green Eyeshade Awards program, which recognizes excellence among journalists in 11 southeastern states.


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