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Our Mission
The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.

To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities.

It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

It is the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists:

— To promote this flow of information.
— To maintain constant vigilance in protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
— To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.
— To foster excellence among journalists.
— To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.
— To encourage diversity in journalism.
— To be the pre-eminent, broad-based membership organization for journalists.
— To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely.


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.

Home > About SPJ > Documentation > SPJ Bylaws > Proposed Bylaws Change

SPJ Bylaws
Proposed Bylaws Change

Delegates at the national convention, Excellence in Journalism 2014, will be voting on a proposed bylaws change during the Closing Business Session on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The proposed changes are to Article Nine (Elections), Section 8. Below, you’ll find Article Nine as it is written today, along with another version of the Article that includes proposed changes.


Currently reads:

ARTICLE NINE

Elections

Section One. There shall be an election annually at the convention or, if no convention is scheduled, during the fourth week of September, to elect the Society’s president-elect, vice president for campus chapter affairs, secretary-treasurer and student directors at-large; and to fill the positions of regional and at-large directors whose terms are expiring.

Section Two. In preparation for the annual election, no later than January 4 of each year, the president shall appoint a Nominating Committee to prepare a slate of candidates including at least one nominee for each officer and director position to be filled.

Section Three. No later than April 1 the Nominating Committee shall forward to the board of directors and executive director a slate of qualified candidates for each officer and director position to be filled.

Section Four. No later than July 1 the board of directors shall publish the candidates’ names and qualifications for office to the Society’s membership.

Section Five. National staff and officers will do everything feasible to facilitate interactive forums online for each candidate for national office to respond to members’ comments and questions.

Section Six. Any member of the Society in good standing may nominate a candidate or candidates to run against candidates on the proposed slate. Nominations must be received by the president no later than 5 days before the start of balloting, and must include a statement of the candidate’s qualifications to hold the office for which s/he has been nominated. Upon verification that a candidate nominated in this way is a member of the Society in good standing, is qualified to hold the office for which s/he is being nominated, and is willing to serve if elected, the board of directors immediately shall publish the names of candidates and their qualifications by the same method used to publish the official slate.

Section Seven. The election shall be conducted electronically by secret ballot beginning at the end of the opening business meeting of the convention and ending one hour before the start of the final business meeting of the convention. In a year when no convention is scheduled, balloting will begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on a date in the fourth week of September set by the board of directors and balloting shall remain open for at least 48 hours. Ballots shall be cast using a system established by the executive director with the approval of the board of directors.

Section Eight. All members of the Society in good standing at the date and time balloting begins are eligible to vote for officers and at-large directors.

Section Nine. Each member of the Society in good standing may vote in the election for the regional director representing his or her home region. The member’s home region shall be determined on the basis of the postal address used by the Society to communicate with the member. If a member of the Society is a member of two or more chapters in different regions, the member may choose the region in which s/he will vote for regional director by notifying the Society in writing no later than 30 days before balloting begins of where s/he intends to vote.

Section Ten. A committee appointed by the president shall count the ballots and report the results of the election to the membership at the final business meeting of the convention. In a year when no convention is scheduled, the committee shall report the results to the board of directors no later than eight hours after balloting is closed, and the board shall immediately publish the outcome of the election to the membership.


Proposed changes:

ARTICLE NINE

Elections

Section One. There shall be an election annually at the convention or, if no convention is scheduled, during the fourth week of September, to elect the Society’s president-elect, vice president for campus chapter affairs, secretary-treasurer and student directors at-large; and to fill the positions of regional and at-large directors whose terms are expiring.

Section Two. In preparation for the annual election, no later than January 4 of each year, the president shall appoint a Nominating Committee to prepare a slate of candidates including at least one nominee for each officer and director position to be filled.

Section Three. No later than April 1 the Nominating Committee shall forward to the board of directors and executive director a slate of qualified candidates for each officer and director position to be filled.

Section Four. No later than July 1 the board of directors shall publish the candidates’ names and qualifications for office to the Society’s membership.

Section Five. National staff and officers will do everything feasible to facilitate interactive forums online for each candidate for national office to respond to members’ comments and questions.

Section Six. Any member of the Society in good standing may nominate a candidate or candidates to run against candidates on the proposed slate. Nominations must be received by the president no later than 5 days before the start of balloting, and must include a statement of the candidate’s qualifications to hold the office for which s/he has been nominated. Upon verification that a candidate nominated in this way is a member of the Society in good standing, is qualified to hold the office for which s/he is being nominated, and is willing to serve if elected, the board of directors immediately shall publish the names of candidates and their qualifications by the same method used to publish the official slate.

Section Seven. The election shall be conducted electronically by secret ballot beginning at the end of the opening business meeting of the convention and ending one hour before the start of the final business meeting of the convention. In a year when no convention is scheduled, balloting will begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on a date in the fourth week of September set by the board of directors and balloting shall remain open for at least 48 hours. Ballots shall be cast using a system established by the executive director with the approval of the board of directors.

Section Eight. All members of the Society in good standing at the date and time seven days prior to the date balloting begins are eligible to vote for officers and at-large directors.

Section Nine. Each member of the Society in good standing may vote in the election for the regional director representing his or her home region. The member’s home region shall be determined on the basis of the postal address used by the Society to communicate with the member. If a member of the Society is a member of two or more chapters in different regions, the member may choose the region in which s/he will vote for regional director by notifying the Society in writing no later than 30 days before balloting begins of where s/he intends to vote.

Section Ten. A committee appointed by the president shall count the ballots and report the results of the election to the membership at the final business meeting of the convention. In a year when no convention is scheduled, the committee shall report the results to the board of directors no later than eight hours after balloting is closed, and the board shall immediately publish the outcome of the election to the membership.

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