Why Im a Member
David Joachim, New York Times
A matter of values (and value)
I joined SPJ 15 years ago to make contact with people who could help me get started in journalism. I stay in SPJ because those contacts are now my friends, and we do important work together.
We share a central philosophy about the importance of protecting free expression in a democracy. We speak in shorthand, which I'm sure is annoying to any civilian who enters our airspace during a heated discussion. It comforts me to know that when I get excited about something, my SPJ friends are also excited; when I worry, they worry; when I am outraged, they are outraged.
I use e-mail to pass along a lot of news about the news. (I am forever in your debt, Mr. Romenesko.) I try to be economical about it, but I don't succeed at that very often. It's easy to overdo it when I know that the person (OK, people) on the receiving end will share my interest. Usually I don't even bother to preface the article with something like, "I thought you would be interested in this because..." No explanation is needed. They just know.
My newsroom is as frantic as anyone's, and sometimes I get so busy that I disappear from the SPJ radar. During those times, I take comfort from knowing that even though I am disengaged, a passionate and dedicated group of people who share my values is hard at work, making sure that journalists like me are not prevented from doing our job.
SPJ keeps me in tune with the industry, and it has brought me friends for life. I owe SPJ a whole lot more than it owes me.