Communities and Committees
Touch base with fellow SPJ members and meet like-minded journalists by joining one or more of SPJ's communities! Open to all members.
– Freelance Community
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– International Community
– Generation J Community
– Community Journalism Community
The work of SPJ is largely done at the national committee and community level. No matter what your passion freedom of information, diversity, ethics, freelance, international journalism, First Amendment rights, journalism education SPJ has an outlet for your talents, passion and energy. Scroll down to learn more about (and get involved with) our committees, and use the links to the right to discover and join any of our growing communities.
Awards & Honors
Freedom of Information
Awards & Honors
This committee oversees most of the Society's awards, which are dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievement in journalism. Any changes in guidelines, judging criteria, categories or eligibility are reviewed by this committee.
Related content | Awards Committee Roster
Awards & Honors Committee
Andy Schotz, chair
Bio (click to expand) Andy Schotz was a city editor for The Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md., for about 19 months until he was laid off on April 17, 2017.
He has been an SPJ member since 2002 and has held various positions on the Washington, D.C., Pro chapter board, including three consecutive one-year terms as president.
He served on the SPJ Ethics Committee from 2004 to 2011, including three years as chairman.
Schotz ran unsuccessfully for at-large director on the national SPJ board in 2012. The following year, he ran unopposed for Region 2 director.
He is a frequent SPJ contest judge (D.C. Pro Dateline Awards, SDX, Mark of Excellence, Green Eyeshade, high school essay) and has twice coordinated Region 2's Mark of Excellence contest.
He joined the SPJ Awards & Honors Committee in 2013 and helped work on a national survey seeking feedback about the MOE contest. He is currently the committee's chairman.
Before joining The Frederick News-Post in 2015, he was an editor at The Gazette, a chain of weekly papers, in Montgomery County, Md. He was there for almost 2 1/2 years before The Gazette folded in June 2015.
Schotz worked for eight years as a reporter and editor at The Altamont Enterprise, a weekly paper in upstate New York, then 13 years as a reporter for The Herald-Mail, a daily paper in Hagerstown, Md.
He is on the board of directors of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.
This committee strives to ensure the Society conducts its business and operations according to the Society's bylaws. SPJ's bylaws aim to unite members and promote good fellowship among them.
SPJ Bylaws | Bylaws Committee Roster
Bylaws Committee Chair
3315 Morrison St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
Bio (click to expand) 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. Hes 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.
On both chapter and national levels, SPJ provides an open forum for the discussion of diversity issues in journalism. This committee's purpose is to promote a broader voice in newsrooms across the country and expand the depth and quality of news reports through better sourcing. Its ongoing project is the compilation of experts primarily women, gays and lesbians, people of color and people with disabilities through the Society's Diversity Source Book. The Society's relevance to its member is based on inclusiveness.
Diversity Home Page | Diversity Committee Roster
Diversity Committee Chair
Ivette Davila-Richards, vice chair
This committee's purpose is to encourage the use of the Society's Code of Ethics, which promotes the highest professional standards for journalists of all disciplines. Public concerns are often answered by this committee. It also acts as a spotter for reporting trends in the nation, accumulating case studies of jobs well done under trying circumstances.
Ethics Home Page | Ethics Committee Roster
Ethics Committee chair
Trusting News Project
Bio (click to expand) Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism for more than 10 years. Currently, she is a freelance journalist and the Assistant Director for the Trusting News project, where she works to help rebuild trust between journalists and the public by working with newsrooms to be more transparent about how they do their jobs.
She is a past national president for the Society of Professional Journalists. During her term, she spoke out against threats to the First Amendment while working to protect and defend journalists and journalism. She also serves the journalism organization as a member of SPJs FOI committee and is the current Ethics Chair. Lynn was also selected to represent SPJ on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee where she worked to recommend changes to help improve the national FOIA process.
Previously she led the NBC 7 Investigates and NBC 7 Responds teams in San Diego, California for KNSD-TV. Prior to working in California, she was working as data producer and investigative reporter for the E.W. Scripps National Desk producing stories for the 30+ Scripps news organizations across the country. Before moving to the national desk, she worked as the Investigative Producer at WPTV, NewsChannel 5, in West Palm Beach, Florida.
She has won state and local awards as well as multiple Emmys for her stories. She loves holding the powerful accountable and spends more time than she would like fighting for access to public information. Lynn travels around the country, teaching journalists and students about the latest innovative storytelling techniques and how to produce ethical content, no matter the medium.
Lynn is a proud Bobcat Alumna and graduated from the Ohio Universitys E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She loves the beach, sunsets, exploring the world and attempting new yoga poses. She believes the glass is half-full, the truth is always out there and that hard work, dedication and personality can make any dream come true.
The finance committee is chaired by the Society's secretary-treasurer. By authority of that position, the committee reviews the annual budget and sets financial goals. Its recommendations on the budget are forwarded to the SPJ board at its spring meeting.
Finance Committee Roster
Finance Committee Chair
Freedom of Information Committee
This committee is the watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. It relies upon a network of volunteers in each state organized under Project Sunshine. These SPJ members are on the front lines for assaults to the First Amendment and when lawmakers attempt to restrict the public's access to documents and the government's business. The committee often is called upon to intervene in instances where the media is restricted.
FOI Home Page | FOI Committee Roster
Freedom of Information Committee Chair
Bio (click to expand) Danielle McLean is an investigative reporter at ThinkProgress and chair of SPJs Freedom of Information Committee. Over the past five years, McLean has worked as an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News and has been published in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the MetroWest Daily News, the Milford Daily News, and dozens of weekly Massachusetts publications. She was ranked no. 13 in Scout Somerville magazines list of the top 40 local leaders in the City of Somerville, Massachusetts for her reporting at the Somerville Journal newspaper and has won the New England Newspaper and Press Associations government, transportation, business and economic, and courts and crime reporting awards. McLean previously served as president of SPJs New England chapter, pushing for public records reform and a free press. Under her watch, the chapter won SPJs 2014-15 Circle of Excellence award for Freedom of Information.
This committee's purpose is to promote excellence in education programs and practical research. It acts as a clearinghouse for the Society's academic members and students. It also works with annual convention planners on mentor programs both at the college and high school level.
Tools for Students | Tools for Educators | J-Ed Committee Roster
Journalism Education Committee Co-Chairs
Rebecca Tallent, Ed.D.
School of Journalism and Mass Media
University of Idaho
Colorado State University-Pueblo
This committee follows membership trends in the Society and recommends membership recruitment drives to the national board and executive director. It is called upon to review chapter requirements, dues, organizational structure and other quality-of-life issues affecting the membership.
Why Join? | Member Resources | Membership Committee Roster
Membership Committee Chair
SPJs Nominations Committee is primarily responsible for identifying, vetting and recommending candidates for election to the Board of Directors.
SPJ Election Central | Nominations Committee Roster
Nominations Committee Chair
The Resolutions Committee meets annually at the Society's National Convention. The group is charged with presenting timely issues for debate before the Society's voting delegates. Its members serve to keep order at business meetings of the Society and to facilitate thoughtful debate. Drafts of resolutions can be submitted by any member of the Society either prior to, or during, convention.
Resolutions Committee Chair