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Chester C. Wells: His Story

Nominations Committee Chair

Sonny Albarado
Projects Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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 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.

Home > SPJ Election Central > Meet the Candidates

Call for Candidates

Run for office | Participate as a voting SPJ member | Meet the candidates

Election Central
Meet the Candidates

Biographies and more are coming shortly. In the meantime, here are the names of people who have declared candidacy for the positions on SPJ's board that are up for election. Want to add your name to this list? It isn't too late.

Skip to a position:
At-Large Director
Campus Adviser At-Large
Student Representative

Regional Directors: 1 | 4 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 9

Currently unopposed

Paul Fletcher

Current SPJ office: Secretary-Treasurer.

Current employment: Publisher and editor-in-chief, Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

Previous SPJ experience: Member, SPJ Ethics Committee; SPJ member since 1992; officer of Virginia Pro chapter for five years, including two terms as president; Ted Scripps Leadership Institute.

Past work experience: Practiced law in Southwest Virginia; teacher, high school English and college composition.

Education: A.B., College of William & Mary; M.A., English, Emory University; J.D., Washington & Lee University.

Honors, awards and activities: Writing awards, Virginia Press Association, National Newspaper Association, SPJDC and SPJ Detroit journalism contests; board member, Virginia Coalition for Open Government; member, VPA Public Notice Task Force; member, ISWNE, ASBPE and NFPW; fellow, Virginia Law Foundation.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: One of SPJ’s most important missions is advocacy — to have a strong, unwavering voice in speaking up for journalists and journalism itself. Our task is not getting any easier, as it seems each year government officials get more secretive, spokespeople get less cooperative, courts get more hostile and legislators find and pass more loopholes.

But fight we must. SPJ can and should be a key defender of our important democratic values — free speech, freedom of information and the public’s right to know.

I worked on these core issues during my time as president of SPJVA and I’ve continued that work during my year as secretary-treasurer. This year’s president, Dave Cuillier, has proposed a long-lasting framework for advocacy funding; if elected president-elect, I will push to help make those plans a reality.

We live and work in a time of transition. The ways that our stories are published are changing, as are the formats for receiving that information. But it remains a grand time to be a story-teller or a reporter seeking and writing the truth. SPJ must respond by providing the relevant tools, training and information for the journalist working today and those of tomorrow.

I would appreciate your vote in September and the opportunity to continue to serve SPJ and our shared mission. Thank you.

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Currently unopposed

Lynn Walsh

Current SPJ office: Member of the FOI and Generation J committees, serve on the SPJ Ethics Code revision committee and the SPJ Futures Task Force, SPJ Newsroom trainer.

Current employment: Data producer, Scripps National Desk.

Previous SPJ experience: SPJ Florida chapter board member, chairwoman for SPJ Generation J committee.

Past work experience: Investigative producer, WPTV; investigative reporter, Texas Watchdog; editor/investigative reporter, Ohio Watchdog; producer, WKEF.

Education: B.S. Broadcast Journalism, Ohio University.

Honors, awards and activities: Suncoast Emmy Awards, three-time winner, 12-time nominee; Florida AP Broadcaster First and Second place winner; SPJ First Amendment Award, online category; Edward R. Murrow regional winner; SPJ Sunshine State Award, government coverage; Knight Digital Media Center Fellow, UC Berkeley; Kiplinger Fellow, Ohio State University.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I want to help SPJ continue to be the professional organization journalists around the world turn to for advice on issues like ethics, freedom of information and new media. Journalism and the world of media are changing and SPJ needs to change with it.

While it adapts and molds itself to better serve all journalists, the organization also has to stick to the values it was founded on. A revision of the SPJ Code of Ethics is just a start. I am going to make sure the SPJ Code of Ethics is one journalists, in and outside SPJ, have seen, read and weighed in on, so it is comprehensive and applicable to journalists writing on the web, for TV/radio and in print.

SPJ needs to continue to think about increasing our membership and creating alternative ways to raise money for training opportunities, legal defense and FOIA causes. To achieve this, SPJ leadership and members need to work together. We need to think outside the box. We need to better communicate who we are and what we do to journalists and the public.

I would like to see us recruit non-practicing journalists, people who are working toward and for the same causes we are, to join the organization and support our members. Recruiting these types of people can help SPJ tell the world why journalism is important, why public access to information needs to continue and why our First Amendment rights need to be protected.

I believe I can work with the various committees and SPJ leadership teams to make this and more happen. I am a strong leader who is enthusiastic about journalism and the amazing possibilities for news and media in the future. I am ready to think outside the box and lead SPJ in a more digital and engaging direction.

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At-Large Director
Choose one

Gideon Grudo

Current SPJ office: DC Pro Chapter Director.

Current employment: Special Projects Manager, Air Force Magazine.

Previous SPJ experience: Director, Exec. VP, Florida Pro; National board Student Representative.

Past work experience: Editor-in-Chief, managing editor, South Florida Gay News; freelancer,; interning reporter, Miami Herald.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications, Florida Atlantic University.

Honors, awards and activities: Sunshine State Awards: College Journalist of the Year, second place; Front Page Design, first place; General News Reporting, second place; SPJ programs: Wrote for, edited and advised SPJ’s Will Write for Food; helped run SPJ’s One Night Stand; helped run (at several universities) First Amendment Free Food Festivals; ran SPJ’s All on Paper; helped run SPJ’s Zombie Stories; helped run SPJ’s F@#$ Words With Friends; helped run SPJ’s Death Race; ran Ethics Hold ‘em all over the country.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: We need to do more stuff. SPJ prides itself on lighting up dark rooms with its beacon of journalistic integrity, bearing the brunt of the widely used code of ethics, and defending journalists in despair with its LDF, among other things. But chapters around the country are shrinking, and many of them are trying to hold on with original programming that engages local journalists and beckons young ones.

I’ve run SPJ programs both in Florida, where I fell into the organization, and around the country during conventions. I’ve seen programs lure people in, get them enthralled about writing obituaries, competitive about asking the right questions, and touched by the power of journalism.

Let’s take programs that can travel and bring them where they’re needed, where they can be useful. I want chapters around the country to use up my free time to get up and get going. And if you don’t want to vote for me but want to hear more about running any of the above programs in your neck of the woods, feel free to email me. I'll at least try to do my best to help.

Tony Hernandez

Current SPJ office: Region 12 Director.

Current employment: City government reporter, Knoxville News Sentinel.

Previous SPJ experience: Region 12 Director; Vice President, Northwest Arkansas Pro Chapter.

Past work experience: County government reporter, Northwest Arkansas Media; managing editor, The Southwest Times; education reporter, Rio Grande SUN.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in communication-journalism, University of Houston.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Journalists today have more than 60 associations and specialized groups working to promote journalism. How many can you afford? For me, not many as I enter my sixth year as a full-time journalist.

In the coming years, SPJ has begun a shift toward more advocacy and partnerships with other journalism groups while at the same time turning over educational programming to our patterns at Sigma Delta Chi and hopefully others.

I’ve bought the Kool-Aid. It’s a smart move for SPJ to emphasize its 501©6 status to lobby lawmakers and causes that promote a free press and fight those that threaten the First Amendment and an open, transparent government.

If I’m elected, I hope to work with our very capable staff to make sure our membership continues to receive benefits, opportunities for training, networking and more. SPJ’s new vision calls our staff to find ways our members would benefit from partnerships with other journalism associations. Maybe that means specialized training in education or science writing, minority issues or government data. Joining SPJ could mean a joint/bundled memberships with other groups. Nothing is off the table. It’s an exciting time to be a member of SPJ, and I ask for your support.

Minal Bopaiah

Bio coming soon.

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Campus Adviser At-Large
Choose one

Dan Caterinicchia

Current SPJ office: Central Ohio Chapter board member.

Current employment: Director of Student Media, Clinical Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.

Past work experience: The Associated Press, Washington, D.C.; The Washington Times; Federal Computer Week magazine.

Education: B.A., American University; M.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Honors, awards and activities: Board member, Ohio Coalition for Open Government.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I joined SPJ more than 15 years ago as an undergraduate student at the suggestion of a professor who remains a mentor and friend. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Now that I have worked as a professor and adviser to the student chapter at Ohio State, I want to give back.

I have seen the impact that college journalists can have on their audiences and communities. I also have seen the benefits that the SPJ pro chapter can have on the current and next generations of communicators. I want to help grow SPJ’s membership by sharing those messages with aspiring journalists who are working hard to tell great stories while pursuing their degrees. It would be my honor to serve as Campus Adviser At-Large.

Jimmy McCollum

Current SPJ office: Member, SPJ Journalism Education committee.

Current employment: Associate professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, Lipscomb University.

Previous SPJ experience: Faculty adviser, Lipscomb University chapter; board member, Middle Tennessee Professional Chapter; member, SPJ Journalism Education committee.

Past work experience: Reporter/anchor, WSM Radio News.

Education: B.A., Speech Communication, Lipscomb University; M.S., Journalism, University of Tennessee; Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of Alabama.

Honors, awards and activities: Helped oversee a student PSA that aired on PBS and won a 2013 Gracie Award (

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: College students need to connect at the university, regional and national levels. As Campus Adviser At-Large, I will work hard to assist student chapters with growth and with issues with administrators and student-government leaders.

As an adviser for a university chapter and board member of a professional chapter, I understand and see the importance of connecting college students locally; my students regularly attend events hosted by the local pro chapter. Each spring they meet professionals and other students at the Region 12 conference and since Fort Worth in 2002, they have accompanied me to the national conventions. As Campus Adviser At-Large, I will work hard to help campus chapters build bridges with all of their communities.

Mike Reilley

Current SPJ office: SPJ/ONA DePaul faculty adviser; SPJ Digital Media committee member; founder and editor, The Journalist’s Toolbox (, @journtoolbox).

Current employment: DePaul University College of Communication journalism program.

Previous SPJ experience: Ted Scripps Leadership Institute facilitator.

Past work experience: Staff writer, Los Angeles Times; internet sports editor, one of the founding editors for, staff writer, Chicago Tribune; national news desk,

Education: BSJ, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; MSJ, Northwestern University.

Honors, awards and activities: SPJ National Campus Chapter of the Year (2011, 2013); David Eshelman Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award; DePaul University Faculty Adviser of the Year; DePaul Engage Socially Responsible Faculty award; SPJ National Volunteer of the Month; ONA 2014 conference national programming committee member; founder of #spjchat Twitter chat; two-time Poynter alum (multimedia and mobile tech); speaker at national and regional conferences, including SPJ, AEJMC, Journalism/Interactive and Google for Media; created student publication; winner of 40 national, regional and local awards in just under four years.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: My mission is to create more collaboration between student chapters on a national level by creating a platform for chapters to exchange information and share ideas on programming, membership, fundraising, etc. The platform also could provide tools for budgeting, building an online presence, organizing, developing bylaws, etc., to help new chapters form or reform dormant chapters. This would be an extension of Scripps and continue the great work there on a day-to-day basis. I also would work to develop clear criteria for determining regional and national campus chapters of the year and continue to develop new, relevant categories for the SPJ MOE awards.

Lisa Rollins

Current SPJ office: board member, Oklahoma Pro chapter; member, Awards and Honors Committee.

Current employment: Assistant professor, journalism, Ashford University; faculty adviser, Ashford University student chapter.

Previous SPJ experience: Student representative, SPJ national board; Region 12 Director; faculty adviser, Middle Tennessee State University and Langston University campus chapters.

Past work experience: Chairwoman and assistant professor of journalism/communication, Langston University; adjunct professor, journalism, University of Oklahoma; adjunct professor and instructor, journalism, Middle Tennessee State University; director of special media projects, MTSU; features writer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; staff writer and page editor, Denton Record-Chronicle.

Education: B.S. in journalism, University of North Texas; M.S. in mass communication, with an emphasis in media management, Middle Tennessee State University; Education Specialist degree in higher education/administration and supervision, Middle Tennessee State University; Ph.D. in higher education, with a dissertation that focused on media convergence, news habits of undergraduates and journalism education, Capella University.

Honors, awards and activities: Graduate, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute; Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship; 2012 Master Teacher of Honor/Kappa Delta Pi; judging coordinator, SPJ High School Essay contest, Oklahoma.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: My passion for SPJ and its mission extends back to 1987 and my undergraduate years at the University of North Texas, where I served as vice president for UNT’s student SDX-turned-SPJ chapter. Moving from a student reporter to a working journalist, I continued to benefit from my affiliation with SPJ and later, as a journalism educator, I wanted to share all that SPJ offers with my students.

SPJ, hands down, is the best investment I have made in my lifelong career in journalism, and today — more than ever — SPJ’s mission is important in helping shape the careers and ethics of journalism students. It is imperative that the next generation of journalists be prepared for the challenges they will face not only in the daily newsroom, but in regard to issues such as FOIA, ethics and the First Amendment, among others. SPJ is the ideal organization to help student journalists shape their career paths, from ongoing education to networking, and beyond.

As Campus Adviser At-Large, I want to help SPJ maintain its dedication and commitment to student learners, both on-ground and online, and I’m excited for the chance to help our next generation of journalists be heard at the national level. My passion for SPJ and all it encompasses is an enduring constant in my effort to give back to my profession, and that it includes via student members.

Bob Buckman

Bio coming soon.

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Student Representative
Choose two

Daniel Axelrod

Current SPJ office: N/A

Current employment: College instructor, journalism Ph.D. student, researching how newspaper closures affect communities.

Previous SPJ experience: President, Keystone Pro Chapter ('09-11), the largest chapter in Pennsylvania, which SPJ honored as one of America's three best small chapters in 2010; vice chairman of SPJ's Digital Media Committee ('09-10) and lead author of the committee's strategic report "Will SPJ Remain Relevant in the Digital Age?"

Past work experience: Newspaper reporter ('04-09), most recently with The Times-Tribune in Scranton, PA; PR specialist ('09-11) for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania; college professor since 2010.

Education: Journalism, M.A., Syracuse University; History and Communications, B.A., SUNY Cortland.

Honors, awards and activities: 14 journalism awards from press associations in NY, N.E. and PA ('04-09); board member for The Independent Florida Alligator, the largest student-run newspaper in America (30,000-circulation independent daily).

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I'm earning a journalism Ph.D. at the University of Florida because the only thing I ever wanted to do more than be a reporter was teach people how to be reporters. Similarly, SPJ's mission is to teach, defend and better journalists and the profession. As a board member representing college journalists, I would:

– Improve such that it becomes the foremost destination for job and internship information for college graduates seeking journalism positions.

– Rejuvenate the "programs in a box" initiative by providing kits with a robust array of high-quality programs and best practices that student leaders can use to better their chapters.

Ellen Eldridge

Current SPJ office: Chapter president, Kennesaw State University campus chapter.

Current employment: Student intern, The Cherokee Tribune; senior communication major, Kennesaw State University (3.8 GPA); freelance content marketer.

Previous SPJ experience: Held current office since 2013.

Past work experience: Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Army Reserves; implemented newsletter as lesson coordinator at 6-store music retail chain; founded marketing magazine for artistic entrepreneurs; freelance music journalist for national print and online mediums (Performer Magazine and

Education: B.S., psychology; senior working toward a B.S. in communication (expected 2015); HootSuite Social Media Certification and brand ambassador.

Honors, awards and activities: Golden Key Honor Society; Who’s Who in American College Students; Adult Learner’s Award; Student Media: staff writer, The Sentinel newspaper; editor-in-chief, Talon feature magazine; literary editor, Share literary magazine.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: As a long-time student of journalism and lover of the written word, I want to pioneer innovation and help experienced and new journalists navigate the changing career field of communication. Freelancing and training are the parts of the SPJ mission closest to my heart. As a HootSuite brand ambassador I hope to encourage journalists of all skill levels to integrate social media into reporting, which will also help the individual brands of media outlets struggling to find a foothold.

As a campus representative, I will work to spread the mission and goals of SPJ as well as work with journalism majors to learn social media and learn how original well-written content can help build a brand. Not public relations writing, but objective content. I also want to stay connected to the largest organization for journalists, and I want to encourage students to get involved not only with the student media but also in contributing as members of SPJ as I have with a blog for The Independent Journalist in the SPJ network.

Brett Hall

Current SPJ office: Chapter president, University of Maryland campus chapter.

Current employment: On-air personality, CBS Radio; associate journalist, WNEW-FM.

Previous SPJ experience: Chapter treasurer, University of Maryland campus chapter.

Past work experience: Anchor/reporter, WMAR-TV; On-air personality, WHFC-FM; communications, John Hopkins Nursing Magazine; traffic anchor, WXCY-FM.

Education: Broadcast journalism major, Phillip Merrill College of Journalism (expected graduation Spring 2015).

Honors, awards and activities: Sigma Delta Chi DC Pro chapter scholarship; BEA Founders scholarship; SPJ Mark of Excellence Radio News Reporting finalist.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am seeking the position as student representative on the national board because I believe that if SPJ is going to be relevant in the future, it must start with the future.

As chapter president of one of the largest student chapters in the country, I understand that students want their voices heard. I also understand that they want advice from those wiser than them. As student representative, I will strive to push the education of good journalism to our nation’s chapters. Starting now will ensure a strong presence in the future.

Lauren Whan

Current SPJ office: Treasurer, Lindenwood University campus chapter.

Current employment: Work and Learn Student, Lindenwood University HD TV; KHQA Summer Internship.

Previous SPJ experience: Founder, Lindenwood University campus chapter; organized chapter events: Journalism Lab, First Amendment Free Food Festival; graduate, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute; attendee, Region 7 conference.

Past work experience: Staff writer, Elliot Publishing; cashier/customer service, Menards.

Education: Lindenwood University journalism and mass communications (expected completion: 2016); Central High School, 2012.

Honors, awards and activities: 3.8 GPA; Dean’s List; Lindy Award; 2011 Youth to Washington winner; 2011 FBLA first place in Emerging Business Issues; 2010 Adams County Fair Queen.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I believe that SPJ is the place to inform and inspire journalists to find their career and hobby outlets. As an organization, we can help others find what they are truly passionate about and then turn that into a lifelong commitment to becoming dedicated journalists.

I want to become the student voice and have the opportunity to represent SPJ student chapters coast to coast. As a Midwest girl and coming from the “Show Me State,” I hope to show SPJ what the students want and let them be heard on the national level.

Layne Hillesland

Bio coming soon.

Ayana Stewart

Bio coming soon.

Dylan Bouscher

Bio coming soon.

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Region 1 Director
Choose one

Ernest Owens

Current SPJ Office: None.

Current Employment: Freelance at, Contributing Writer for The Huffington Post, USA Today

Previous SPJ Experience: Member, EIJ News Reporter

Past Work Experience: WQHS Radio Broadcaster, Daily Pennsylvanian Video Producer/Columnist, UTV 13 Anchor/Producer, Philadelphia City Council Communications Fellow, NBC Universal (NBC Philadelphia Web Content Journalist)

Education: University of Pennsylvania: B.A. in Communication, Concentration: Communication & Public Service

Honors, Awards and Activities: Alpha Phi Omega, Inc. Service Fraternity, Radio Television Digital News Association, National Association of Black Journalists, Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award for Best Personal Opinion (2012), Tribeca Film Festival Award (2014), Writings /Commentary featured in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, Oprah Winfrey Network, The Root

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: As a journalist of color and of LGBT representation, my strong background in covering collegiate news and issues pertaining to race, gender and socioeconomic disparity fuels my passion for running. I am determined to see the organization better incorporate an overall sense of inclusion in membership that reflects this diversity and interest in subject matter as well. As a graduate of the Ivy League, I was the only student from the University of Pennsylvania in recent years be apart of the organization. And as a young adult journalist, I am also one of the few members of color in this demographic as well. If elected, I would love to help increase a more diverse and younger membership base on the East Coast, as well as expand our platform and resources to the Ivies and HBCUs college wise. In addition, I also plan on expanding outreach to various diverse groups and younger graduating members across the East Coast.

Rebecca Baker

Current SPJ Office: Region 1 Director; Deadline Club Advisory Council

Current Employment: Managing Editor, New York Law Journal

Previous SPJ Experience: The Deadline Club: Executive Council Chairwoman (as immediate past president), President, First Vice President, Vice President of Events, Vice President of Awards, Secretary. Connecticut Pro chapter: Secretary.

Past Work Experience: Staff Writer, The Record/ (Bergen County, N.J.); Staff Writer, The Journal News/ (White Plains, N.Y.); Staff Writer, New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.); Reporter, Tribune Chronicle (Warren, Ohio)

Education: M.S., Journalism, Quinnipiac University; B.A., Communication and Writing, Carlow University

Honors, Awards and Activities: Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Chapter Member 2010-2011; television appearances on American Greed, On the Case with Paula Zahn and Nancy Grace discussing criminal cases; frequent guest speaker on "Crime and Justice with Dan Schorr," a New York-based radio program and podcast.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I'd like to continue the progress that’s been achieved in Region 1 and to serve both the national board and the organization as a whole.

Since joining SPJ in 2000, I’ve worked my way up to become regional director, holding nearly every position on the board of The Deadline Club, SPJ’s largest chapter. My achievements as chapter president were recognized in 2011 with the Howard S. Dubin Award, one of the highest recognitions that SPJ bestows on its members.

My accomplishments in my first term as Region 1 Director include:
— Organizing two sold-out regional conferences.
— Helping to revive student chapters at Penn State University, Long Island University and Marist College and overseeing the start of new campus chapters at St. John’s University and Franklin Pierce University.
— Launching a regional chapter grant program where professional and student chapters can receive up to $500 each quarter from the Region 1 Fund to underwrite events that promote increasing and retaining membership.
— Creating a monthly e-newsletter to inform professional chapter leaders and student chapter advisors of happenings in SPJ and in the industry.
— Advising chapter leaders on ideas to boost membership and encouraging them to partner with diverse journalism groups to host events.
— Promoting SPJ membership at awards ceremonies and other chapter events.

After working for daily newspapers in New York, New Jersey and New England, I know the region, and its journalists, extremely well. With a higher concentration of media outlets than any other area of the country, Region 1 provides journalists with more opportunities—and more competition—than virtually anywhere else. I’ve worked hard to meet the needs of journalists in Region 1 by giving SPJ chapter leaders the support they need to host networking events, professional development programs and awards contests that honor excellence in journalism.

Looking ahead, I’ll continue promoting the values and vision of SPJ by working to increase overall membership by strengthening professional chapters, reviving campus chapters that have become dormant, and finding places where new chapters can take root.

After two years, I know what it takes to do the job of regional director. And I’ve done the job well. I hope I’m allowed to finish what I’ve started and help SPJ in its mission to promote and defend free speech and a free press.

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Region 4 Director
Currently unopposed

Patti Gallagher Newberry

Current SPJ office: Region 4 Director.

Current employment: Senior lecturer, Journalism Program, Dept. of Media, Journalism and Film, Miami University.

Previous SPJ experience: Member since 1980; president of campus chapter, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; president, treasurer, newsletter editor, programming chair, Cincinnati Pro Chapter; adviser, Miami University student chapter.

Past work experience: Fifteen years in newspapers, working mostly as a business journalist for 10 papers in seven states, with newswriting, column writing and editing positions at Crain’s Chicago Business, Cincinnati Enquirer, Indianapolis News and other papers.

Education: Bachelor of arts, journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Honors, awards and activities: Chair, 2013 Region 4 spring conference; organizing committee, 2014 Region 4 spring conference; writer, Fourth Estate (Region 4 blog); attend most national conferences; invited to serve on programming committee for EIJ15.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: To celebrate journalism and journalists as the protectors and promoters of a democratic society.

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Region 5 Director
Currently unopposed

Deborah Givens

Current SPJ office: Coordinator, Region 5 Mark of Excellence contest.

Current employment: Assistant professor, journalism, Eastern Kentucky University.

Previous SPJ experience: Adviser, Eastern Kentucky University campus chapter; member, Bluegrass Pro chapter.

Past work experience: Publisher, The Butler County Banner; editor, The Green River Republican.

Education: B.S., Ball State University; M.P.A., Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., University of Kentucky.

Honors, awards and activities: Outstanding Student SPJ Chapter in Region 5 for two of the first years serving as adviser; First Amendment Celebration coordinator, Eastern Kentucky University; Critical Thinking Teacher of the Year, Golden Apple Teaching Award, Leadership Outside the Classroom Award, Eastern Kentucky University; Kentucky Opportunity Fellowship for Doctoral Student, University of Kentucky; Outstanding Graduate Student, Western Kentucky University; Ball State University Outstanding Journalism Alumnus Award; multiple awards for writing, photography and design from Kentucky Press Association; member, Phi Kappa Phi, honor society; member, Kappa Tau Alpha, journalism and mass communication honor society; member, AEJMC, Kentucky Communication Association and International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: With a career that has included working as a reporter, editor, publisher, consultant and now teacher and adviser, I am interested in increasing partnerships between our professional and student members and in actively recruiting members. As the challenges to the profession increase on multiple fronts, we must increase our efforts to explain to the public the role of journalism in a democracy, to mentor the next generation of journalists and support working journalists — whether in legacy or new forms of media.

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Region 7 Director
Currently unopposed

Rob McLean

Current employment: Digital Managing Editor, Hearst Television.

Previous SPJ experience: SPJ member since 2010; helped establish Nebraska SPJ chapter; member, SPJ Generation J committee; professional development speaker at regional conferences.

Past work experience: Local editor,; editorial contributor,, Omaha Public Radio, C-VILLE Weekly and other news outlets.

Education: Master of Arts, Journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Bachelor of Arts, English, Creighton University.

Honors, awards and activities: 2014 graduate, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute; member, RTDNA; member, Online News Association.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am seeking the Region 7 Director position because I want to help strengthen the journalism community in the Midwest. Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa are states filled with talented journalists and students aspiring to news careers. However, those who seek paying journalism opportunities have fewer options than they once did.

As regional director, I want to put editors who have freelance opportunities or are looking to fill roles in the newsrooms in touch with SPJ members. I also want to help encourage journalists at the local leve to continue their education through professional development events. These events, whether at regional or national conferences, or local chapter events, can empower journalists to craft their best work.

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Region 8 Director
Currently unopposed

Eddye Gallagher

Current SPJ Office: Region 8 Direcor

Current Employment: Director of Student Publications, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Adviser of student newspaper at Tarrant County College in the Fort Worth area

Previous SPJ Experience: President of Fort Worth Pro Chapter, vice-president of awards, board member, local committees, national membership committee

Past Work Experience: Assistant News Bureau director, Texas Christian University, free-lance

Education: B.A., Texas Wesleyan University; M.A., University of North Texas

Honors, Awards and Activities:’s 2012 Top 50 Journalism Professors in the nation, Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Adviser of the Year, NISOD Excellence in Teaching Awards, Tarrant County College Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Journalists need support and encouragement that they do not always receive from their employers, and I strongly believe SPJ can offer that support. Texas’ and Oklahoma’s chapters have gone through some rebuilding stages, and I would like to help them continue their upward movements. We have been working together , and I think the bonding can become even stronger. [Back to Top]

Region 9 Director
Currently unopposed

Tom Johnson

Current employment: Mgr. Director, Institute for Analytic Journalism (a non-profit focusing on training journalists; researching new digital tools appropriate for journalism); Fulbright Specialist Roster (analytic journalism).

Previous SPJ experience: Member, 40+ years; founding president, Trinity University student chapter: multiple-term board member, NorCal Pro chapter; Quill columnist (technology); national convention organizing committee, 1997; Mark of Excellence judge.

Past work experience: Reporter, Topeka Capitol-Journal; editor, Scientific American; reporter, TIME Magazine; west coast correspondent, Popular Science; start-up editor, MacWEEK; deputy editor, St. Louis Post Dispatch; professor of journalism, San Francisco State University; visiting professor, Columbia University and Boston University.

Education: B.S., journalism, Trinity University; doctoral candidate, American studies, University of Kansas.

Honors, awards and activities: Past board member, public radio station KSFR; member, NM Press Women; Special Achievement in GIS, ESRI International User Conference.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: The declining numbers and influence of journalists and institutions of journalism is a tectonic change driven by the onset of the Digital Age. Yet we still need voices demanding and promoting open and democratic government, just as SPJ has always done.

We can meet those challenges simultaneously and vigorously by collaborating with organizations that share our goals for a dynamic, free press and by working to train professional and aspiring journalists about how to survive thrive in this new information ecosystem. As Region 9 Director, I will seek out allies in our four states and work to establish regular training sessions, not only for journalists but for all who seek access to analyze the people’s data and tell the stories that flow from it.

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