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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Resolutions

Documentation
Resolutions

Submitted to the Excellence in Journalism Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for passage on Sept. 22, 2012

1. Thanking SPJ President John Ensslin for his service
2. Thanks to SPJ HQ Staff
3. Thanking sponsors, donors and contributors to the 2012 Excellence in Journalism National Conference
4. Thanking SDX President Steve Geimann for his service
5. Challenging the constitutionality of FERPA
6. Recognizing Alton, Ill., citizenry
7. Financial Transparency


Resolution No. 1 | Submitted by SPJ Resolutions Committee

Thanking SPJ President John Ensslin for his service

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists during it more than 100-year history consistently manages to attract the most intelligent, well-spoken, hard-working, collegial, thoughtful, truthful, talented and energetic leaders filled with integrity and;

WHEREAS, during the past year President John Ensslin, despite his strong connections to New Jersey, has worked tirelessly — and to the Society’s knowledge non-corruptly — to serve SPJ and its members, and to lead the organization in all areas of its mission and;

WHEREAS, President Ensslin without fear or favor had led SPJ into the jaws of the endlessly changing landscape of the news media with enthusiasm, vigor and high levels of professionalism and;

WHEREAS, President Ensslin has served as a bonfire on the beach of journalism, shedding the light of truth and high ethical standards for all generations of journalists and;

WHEREAS, under the leadership of President Ensslin and the SPJ staff, the 2012 Excellence in Journalism national conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., melded two major and distinguished media organizations — SPJ and the Radio Television Digital News Association — to offer journalists throughout the country an array of training and education — and to frolic on the beach, hang by the pool, tour the Everglades and spend much time steeped in thought about how to pad expenses in order to pay for the drinks in the lounge and;

WHEREAS, President Ensslin has announced plans to form a task force comprised of those most knowledgeable about curing all the ills that have ever afflicted journalism organizations — Correcting Ongoing and Numbing Journalism Organization Bitching (CONJOB) led by SPJ Board member Michael Koretzky and;

WHEREAS, President Ensslin has stood tall through his term in the face of significant challenges to SPJ and to the news media industry;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates thanks President John Ensslin for his dedicated service to the Society during his term as president.

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Resolution No. 2 | Submitted by the SPJ Resolutions Committee

Thanks to SPJ HQ Staff

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists remains the largest broad based professional media organization through its ongoing and exemplary work in the areas of professional development, public access, ethics, diversity and First Amendment advocacy and;

WHEREAS, the people behind the curtain (yes, you can look behind the curtain), who on a daily basis keep the SPJ trains running — and bestow brains, courage and heart to its members — are members of the SPJ headquarters staff and;

WHEREAS, the staff has again created a national journalism conference in tandem with the Radio Television Digital News Association that has pulled together an enormous display of “talent, truth and energy” seamlessly and seemingly without effort (based on the time they have spent in the hotel lounge) and;

WHEREAS, the SPJ Headquarters staff has done and continues to do their good work despite the SPJ board of directors and a vast collection of past presidents who think they know everything and;

WHEREAS, all this was done in a setting offering the most wonderful weather ever bestowed on a beach resort;

WHEREAS, during the 2012 Excellence in Journalism national conference the SPJ staff again demonstrated high levels of professionalism, skill, ingenuity, nimbleness, surfing, swimming, dancing with umbrella drinks and with not much sleep and;

WHEREAS, SPJ relies heavily on the staff’s vast knowledge, high levels of patience and non-stop text messaging —all those messages now being sought via a Freedom of Information request by Dave Cuillier;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates thanks the SPJ staff for all its work and gives the staff a hearty “Let’s have another!” for its work on the 2012 Excellence in Journalism conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Resolution No. 3 | Submitted by the SPJ Resolutions Committee

Thanking sponsors, donors and contributors to the 2012 Excellence in Journalism National Conference

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, ethical professional journalism that produces high quality and meaningful news on a diverse range of subjects cannot be achieved without ongoing professional development activities and;

WHEREAS, the 2012 Excellence in Journalism national conference hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association drew more than 1,000 journalists from all media to learn and share information and help on all aspects of journalism in order for them to become better equipped to serve the public with quality news and;

WHEREAS, providing the kind of expansive, high quality and effective training offered at the
2012 Excellence in Journalism National Conference cannot happen without strong financial support;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates offers its hearty thanks to all donors and in-kind supporters of the 2012 Excellence in Journalism National Conference and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the SPJ convention of delegates thanks the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation for its significant financial contributions to SPJ and the Excellence in Journalism 2012.

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Resolution No. 4 | Submitted by the SPJ Resolutions Committee

Thanking SDX President Steve Geimann for his service

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists relies heavily on its supporting foundation — Sigma Delta Chi — to sustain its important mission to serve and protect journalism and;

WHEREAS, SPJ President and past SDX President Steve Geimann attended his SPJ convention in 1981 and was encouraged by his editor at the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin to take advantage of extended personal and professional growth opportunities at the convention and;

WHEREAS, during the past 30 years Steve Geimann has contributed his time, vast knowledge of the media industry and of the workings of SPJ to serve journalists and journalism throughout the world and;

WHEREAS, President Geimann has also contributed vast amounts of money — which he claims was his — to support the SPJ Legal Defense Fund and financial records for those transactions are now being sought by Charles Davis via a Freedom of Information Request;

WHEREAS, President Geimann sometimes passes up the opportunity to pay for the tab in the hotel lounge — with money he claims is his and;

WHEREAS, under the leadership of President Geimann, the SDX Foundation entered the new millennium in a strong, financially healthy and respected position, and continues on that road and;

WHEREAS, President Geimann will continue to provide stewardship to the SDX board even as the presidential gavel is wrested from his hands after he was named by the Foundation Board President’s Hall of Fame recipient of the Joe DiMaggio Award for the most consecutive years as a foundation board president (56) and;

WHEREAS, President Geimann, because of his tireless work in behalf of the SDX Board during the past several decades has now become less famous than his college roommate, NBC’s Bob Costas and;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates thanks Steve Geimann for his longtime dedicated service to the Society and its supporting foundation, Sigma Delta Chi.

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Resolution No. 5 | Submitted by Carolyn S. Carlson, past president, SPJ, and chair of the FERPA subcommittee of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee

Challenging the constitutionality of FERPA

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, colleges have used the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to conceal such non-confidential records as lists of athletes on scholarship and recordings of student senate meetings and;

WHEREAS, colleges citing FERPA claim they can’t afford to run the risk of losing their federal funding if they are found guilty of violating FERPA’s privacy provisions and;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (the “Obamacare” ruling), struck down a federal statute that conditioned federal financial subsidies — in that case, Medicaid funding — on complying with Congressionally mandated conditions and;

WHEREAS, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the majority opinion in that case, said the mandates were too severe, constituting “much more than ‘relatively mild encouragement’ — it is a gun to the head” and;

WHEREAS, although the U.S. Department of Education has never imposed a financial penalty for violating FERPA, the threat that it can withhold millions of dollars in federal funding to public and private colleges and universities for violating FERPA certainly amounts to “a gun to the head”;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists encourages the news media legal community to seek a strong case to challenge the constitutionality of FERPA using the National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius ruling as a precedent, and;

THEREFORE, be it further resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists supports all efforts to have FERPA declared unconstitutional so that colleges and universities can begin to find a common-sense way to protect legitimate confidences while still giving the public information essential to evaluating how its schools are managed.

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Resolution No. 6 | Submitted by Susan S. Stevens, Chicago Headline Club

Recognizing Alton, Ill., citizenry

Resolution Action: Approved

WHEREAS, Elijah Lovejoy became this nation’s first martyr to freedom of the press in Alton, Ill., 175 years ago and;

WHEREAS, Lovejoy, a white Presbyterian minister, Maine native and abolitionist publisher whose foes murdered him and threw his printing presses into the Mississippi River and;

WHEREAS, in 1952, Sigma Delta Chi (now the Society of Professional Journalists) designated the scene a national historic site in journalism and erected a monument with great fanfare that included speeches by the governor and prominent journalists from across the country and;

WHEREAS, thieves stole the monument and;

WHEREAS, a group of Alton residents hopes to build a new and more secure monument to assure enduring appreciation of Lovejoy’s courage and;

WHEREAS, the Alton group only has enough money at this point to erect three roadside markers and;

WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists and Chicago Headline Club will be recognized on one of these markers, since the Headline Club donated $500 to this worthy cause and;

WHEREAS, the Alton group plans a commemoration program and dinner Nov. 2, 2012, at nearby Lewis & Clark Community College and is working with The Alton Little Theater to present a play at Alton Middle School and the Lovejoy Monument on "Lovejoy Day" on Nov. 9 at the another Lovejoy monument, in the Alton City Cemetery;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates applauds Alton for keeping Lovejoy’s memory alive and calls on all journalists to act as bravely as Lovejoy when faced with wrongdoing and threats to the First Amendment.

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Resolution No. 7 | Submitted by Long Island pro chapter, the Press Club of Long Island

Financial Transparency

Resolution Action: Failed

Whereas, transparency in government and other institutions is critical for effective journalism and the Society of Professional Journalists serves as a watchdog for those institutions and;

Whereas, that same transparency should be demonstrated by a professional organization that calls for it in other institutions;

Therefore be it resolved, that the SPJ Board of Directors establishes a policy that makes all SPJ chapter treasurer reports available for public review upon request.

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