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Home > About SPJ > Communities and Committees

Communities and Committees

The work of SPJ is largely done at the national committee and community 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. Scroll down to learn more about (and get involved with) our committees, and use the links to the right to discover and join any of our growing communities.

Active committees
Awards & Honors
Bylaws
Diversity
Ethics
Finance
Freedom of Information
Journalism Education
Membership
Resolutions


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
City editor
The Frederick News-Post
Frederick, Md.
@spjregion2
Email
Bio (click to expand) picture Andy Schotz is a city editor for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md.

He has been an SPJ member since 2002 and has held various positions on the Washington, D.C., Pro chapter board, including three consecutive one-year terms as president.

He served on the SPJ Ethics Committee from 2004 to 2011, including three years as chairman.

Schotz ran unsuccessfully for at-large director on the national SPJ board in 2012. The following year, he ran unopposed for Region 2 director.

He is a perennial SPJ contest judge (D.C. Pro Dateline Awards, SDX, Mark of Excellence, Green Eyeshade, high school essay) and has twice coordinated Region 2's Mark of Excellence contest.

He joined the SPJ Awards & Honors Committee in 2013 and helped work on a national survey seeking feedback about the MOE contest.

Before joining The Gazette in January 2013, Schotz worked for eight years as a reporter and editor at The Altamont Enterprise, a weekly paper in upstate New York, then for 13 years as a reporter for The Herald-Mail, a daily paper in Hagerstown, Md. He has worked at The Frederick News-Post since September 2015.

He is on the board of directors of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.


Sarah Bauer, vice chair
Program Director
Minnesota Newspaper Association
612-278-0250
@sarah_mn
E-mail
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

Dori Zinn
President, Blossomers Media
E-mail
@dorizinn
Bio (click to expand) Dori Zinn is the President of Blossomers Media, a web development and online media company. This is her second year as President of SPJ Florida Pro. For five years, Zinn served on the board as Vice President of Membership for the chapter, helping win SPJ's “Chapter of the Year” in 2010, 2014, and 2016. This is her first year as chair of the Diversity Committee.

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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.


Fred Brown, vice chair
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) picture 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 Society’s 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 Denver’s 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.




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Finance Committee

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 Committee Roster

Finance, Tax and Budget Committee Chair

J. Alex Tarquinio
Special Issues Editor
The Real Deal
Email
@alextarquinio
Bio (click to expand) picture J. Alex Tarquinio is the special issues editor at The Real Deal, editing the Southern California and Southern Florida market reports. She works with staff and freelance writers, data researchers and designers to create informative and visually-appealing quarterly magazines.

Tarquinio currently serves as the secretary-treasurer of the Society of Professional Journalists, as a board member of the SDX Foundation and as a member of the national Legal Defense Fund committee. In New York, she serves on the advisory council of The Deadline Club and as the chairwoman of the New York Journalism Hall of Fame.

Since joining the national board, she has been a #JournCamp trainer, organized a panel for the convention in Orlando and chaired the Membership Representation task force. She previously served as the president and chairwoman of the Deadline Club, as an at-large director of the national board, and as a member of the Membership and Project Watchdog committees.

Previously, she received a journalism fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States to finance a reporting residency in Cyprus. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, Barron’s, Forbes, Smart Money and Reader’s Digest. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


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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

Gideon Grudo
Digital Platforms Editor
Air Force Magazine
E-mail
@ggrudo
Bio (click to expand) picture Grudo is currently the digital platforms editor at Air Force Magazine, a DC-based, independent monthly. He was previously on the board of SPJ DC and on the national SPJ board. Before moving to DC in 2013, Grudo was editor of South Florida Gay News and worked on the board of SPJ Florida, spearheading multiple programs on a national level and helping run related conventions.



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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

Dr. Richard Gaspar
Professor of Mass Communication
Hillsborough Community College
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) Dr. Richard F. Gaspar is a full Professor of Mass Communication at Hillsborough Community College and has taught for 20+ years. He has been recognized as a site level, county level and state level teacher of the year. For the past 11 years, he has judged national publications contests and served as a critique adviser for student publications. He has attended numerous state, national and international journalism and communication conferences. He is also a CMA Distinguished Two-Year Magazine Adviser, CMA Distinguished Two-Year Newspaper Adviser, and SPJ Dori Maynard Diversity Fellow.

Adam Maksl, Ph.D., co-chair
Assistant Professor of Journalism
Indiana University Southeast
812-941-2892
E-mail

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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
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) As projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Sonny Albarado supervises reporters on investigative and explanatory journalism assignments. He holds a bachelor’s degree and an honorary doctor of letters from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, La.

His journalism career of more than 40 years includes lengthy sojourns in Baton Rouge, La., and Memphis, Tenn. He has been a reporter, an assistant city editor, a business editor (twice), a projects editor (twice), a news editor and a city editor. He also briefly edited a trade magazine dedicated to the coin-operated amusement industry.

He has been involved in the defense of the First Amendment and the free flow of information since his days as editor of his college’s student newspaper. A member of SPJ since 1979, he is a past president of SPJ and a current member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

All awards he’s received have been the result of good editors when he was a reporter and excellent reporters since he’s been an editor.


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Committees
Complete List
Awards & Honors
Bylaws
Diversity
Ethics
Freedom of Information
Freelance
Generation J
Journalism Education
Legal Defense Fund
Membership
Resolutions


About SPJ
Mission
Membership
General Info
Headquarters Staff
Board of Directors
Committees
Bylaws | PDF version
Documentation
History
Chester C. Wells: His Story
Merchandise
 

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