Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909


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Founded: SPJ was founded in 1909 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., as a journalistic fraternity known as Sigma Delta Chi. In 1988, the organization officially changed its name to the Society of Professional Journalists.

Membership: SPJ is a professional organization that includes broadcast, print and online journalists, journalism educators , and students interested in journalism as a career.

Tax-exempt status: The Society is a not-for-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code.




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Chester C. Wells: His Story
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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.

Home > About SPJ > SPJ History

About the Society
History of the Society


SPJ Timeline | SPJ Presidents | Chester C. Wells


Historic Moments:
A timeline of SPJ’s development

Compiled by SPJ member Jennifer Peebles

Use the arrows to move forward and backward between events. TapClick and drag the timeline below to move around it, and tapclick on events to see that event in detail.

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Chester C. Wells: His True Life Story

Chester C. Wells, Sigma Delta Chi’s second national president, is remembered today through the Wells Memorial Key, which is the highest honor SPJ can bestow on a member. But little else about his legacy has been documented. Journalist Gordon Govier set out to discover the story of Chester Wells, who was elected president at the second national convention of Sigma Delta Chi, held in Madison, Wisc., in May 1913. This is what he found.

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SPJ Presidents
Compiled by SPJ member Jennifer Peebles

Use the arrows to move forward and backward between presidents. TapClick and drag the timeline below to move around it, and tapclick on a president's name to see more about that person.

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Copyright © 1996-2014 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

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