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Nominations Committee Chair

Sonny Albarado
Projects Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, Ark. 72201
Bio (click to expand) As projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Sonny Albarado supervises reporters on investigative and explanatory journalism assignments. He holds a bachelor’s degree and an honorary doctor of letters from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, La.

His journalism career of more than 40 years includes lengthy sojourns in Baton Rouge, La., and Memphis, Tenn. He has been a reporter, an assistant city editor, a business editor (twice), a projects editor (twice), a news editor and a city editor. He also briefly edited a trade magazine dedicated to the coin-operated amusement industry.

He has been involved in the defense of the First Amendment and the free flow of information since his days as editor of his college’s student newspaper. A member of SPJ since 1979, he is a past president of SPJ and a current member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

All awards he’s received have been the result of good editors when he was a reporter and excellent reporters since he’s been an editor.

Home > SPJ Election Central > Meet the Candidates

Call for Candidates

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Regional Delegate information

Q&A with this year’s SPJ board candidates

Region 2 Director Andy Schotz asked candidates in the four contested races (president-elect, vice president of campus chapter affairs, student representative and Region 10 director) to answer a short questionnaire. Here are their replies.

Election Central
Meet the Candidates

Skip to a position:
Vice President, Campus Chapter Affairs
At-Large Director
Campus Adviser At-Large
Student Representative

Regional Directors: 2 | 3 | 6 | 10 | 11 | 12

Choose one

Jason Parsley

Current SPJ office: Membership chair and contest chair of SPJ Florida

Current employment: Executive editor of South Florida Gay News

Previous SPJ experience: Past president, treasurer and director of SPJ Florida; member of the National Governance Task Force; member of several national committees including bylaws, awards and diversity.

Past work experience: Reporter

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University

Honors, awards and activities: Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award, 2016.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: SPJ is the largest journalist organization in the country. But our membership is declining and so my focus, if elected, will be on membership. I served as membership chair of my chapter and made it a priority to engage the unaffiliated list and move as many of them as I could to our roster so they would have representation. During my term as president I launched the “no journalist left behind” initiative expanding our territory to include all areas in Florida in order to make sure that all journalists in the state had SPJ representation. I have a proven track record of success here in Florida and I am ready to take my determination and tenacity to the national level.

J. Alex Tarquinio

Current SPJ office: Secretary-treasurer, Society of Professional Journalists; board member, SDX Foundation; SPJ representative to the #EIJ 2017 Programming committee; member of SPJ’s LDF Committee and SDX’s Publications Committee; member of the Advisory Council, New York Deadline Club; chairwoman, New York Journalism Hall of Fame.

Current employment: Freelance journalist.

Previous SPJ experience: Officer of The Deadline Club for a decade, including two terms as chairwoman, two terms as president and four terms as vice president of the Awards Dinner; member, SPJ Membership committee and Project Watchdog committee.

Past work experience: Special issues editor, The Real Deal; senior digital editor, Time Inc.; staff writer, Smart Money, the Personal Finance Magazine of The Wall Street Journal; investing editor,; contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, the International Herald Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, among others.

Education: M.S. in journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; B.A. in literature and creative writing with highest honors in the major, University of California, Santa Cruz; Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF-C1).

Honors, awards and activities: Recipient, Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award; graduate, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute; journalism fellow, the German Marshall Fund of the United States; recipient, University of California President’s Undergraduate Fellowship.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: As America’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, we need to engage in a conversation with the public about why journalism is important. The challenge is becoming more imperative by the day, as reporters are heckled, harassed and told they are peddlers of “fake news.” And that’s by elected politicians.

We need to push back when secretive governments try to limit reporter access to elected officials or to public information — and we need to explain to the public how and why hard-working journalists are fighting on their behalf.

SPJ is well-suited to make this case. Our widely cited ethics code is a model for the profession. We support journalists fighting legal battles to defend free speech and advocate against government restrictions to access public information.

As president, I will work to strengthen our ties with other journalism groups nationally and internationally and will seek opportunities to take our message directly to the public. I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible in Anaheim to discuss how we can keep moving our journalism society and our profession forward. [Back to Top]

Currently unopposed

Patricia Gallagher Newberry

Current SPJ offices: Chair, SPJ Governance Task Force, summer 2016 to present; board member, Sigma Delta Chi, fall 2015 to present; Region 4 director and SPJ national board member, fall 2013 to present; campus adviser, Miami (of Ohio) University SPJ Chapter, fall 2000 to present.

Current employment: Senior lecturer, coordinator of special events and internships, chair of Committee on Student Media Organizations, Miami (of Ohio) University Journalism Program, 1997 to present.

Previous SPJ experience: Co-chair, joint Region 4/5 spring conferences, 1990, 2005, 2016; co-chair, Region 4 spring conference, 2014; programming chair, joint Region 4/5 spring conference, president, vice president of programming, treasurer, newsletter editor, board member, Queen City (Cincinnati) SPJ, 1986-94; president, treasurer, board member, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter, 1980-83. Also serve as annual judge for Mark of Excellence and Sigma Delta Chi contests each year.

Past work experience: Freelancer, Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati magazine, 1997 to present; business reporter and editor, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Indianapolis News, Cincinnati Enquirer, Crain’s Chicago Business, 1983-94; news intern, North Platte Telegraph, Omaha World-Herald, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lincoln Journal, 1980-1983.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1983.

Honors, awards, activities: Region 4 Campus Chapter of the Year, 2003.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: At a time when the press is under extraordinary attack, I endorse the Washington Post’s 2017 mantra, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Never, in my lifetime, has the press been more vilified. Never has good journalism — and defenders of good journalism — been more important. I seek the position of secretary-treasurer of SPJ to join the leadership team that has, in recent years, made major strides in positioning the Society as one of leading advocates of journalism in the country. I seek the job, too, in hopes that I can help implement a “remake” of the board’s size and focus — a proposal I helped craft as the chair of the SPJ Governance Task Force over the past year.

Democracy does, indeed, die in darkness. Journalism provides the light. I hope to be among the SPJ leaders this coming year and going forward to promote and protect journalism in ever-more effective ways.

[Back to Top]

Vice President, Campus Chapter Affairs
Choose one

Sue Kopen Katcef

Current SPJ office: Vice president, Campus Chapter Affairs; SPJ National Awards Committee member; UMD SPJ Student Chapter Faculty Adviser

Current employment: Broadcast bureau director, Capital News Service, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Previous SPJ experience: Chair, SPJ National Awards Committee; Nnational SPJ Campus Adviser At-Large; D.C. SPJ Pro Chapter corresponding secretary; president, MD Maryland SPJ Pro Chapter

Past work experience: Reporter/anchor, WBAL Radio, Baltimore; reporter/producer, Maryland Public Television; reporter, WJZ Television, Baltimore; reporter/anchor, WCBM Radio/Metromedia, Baltimore; press secretary, Cong. Ben Cardin; press secretary, Maryland House Speaker Ben Cardin; ABC Radio, D.C. Bureau; Associated Press Radio, Washington, D.C.; WMAL Radio, Washington

Education: B.S., journalism, University of Maryland

Honors, awards and activities: Inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, March 2017; D.C. SPJ Pro Chapter Distinguished Service Award, 2010; SPJ Distinguished Teaching In Journalism Award, 2002-03; SPJ David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award, 2001-02; Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society. Other awards include ABA Silver Gavel Award; Maryland State Bar Association Gavel Awards; multiple awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association and multiple regional awards from the Radio-Television Digital News Association.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Passion. If there’s one word that sums up my reason for staying involved with SPJ since my days as a student at the University of Maryland it’s passion. Passion about good journalism. Passion about making a difference. Passion about helping to grow and shape the next generation of professionals. And, yes, passion for SPJ and wanting to help with directing it towards the future for BOTH professionals and students.

During my years on the board my suggestions have resulted in a number of changes and innovations which have been adopted. They include:

— the creation of the post-grad 3-for-2 years dues incentive to reduce the economic burden on recent grads
— insisting that the proposed change in SPJ governance come with the assurance that there will ALWAYS be a campus voice OFFICIALLY part of a reconstituted national board
— the creation of the Mark of Excellence MOEy "Best of Show" award
— the inclusion of time at EIJ to allow student chapters to meet to share their experiences and ideas (it was expanded to include pro chapters as well)

I have tried to make certain that the interests of students and advisers are always taken into account as we develop new programs and take on new challenges. This is a pivotal time in SPJ’s history. I want to continue to be that strong voice and help with shaping SPJ’s course for the future.

Keem Muhammad

Current SPJ office: National Board of Directors, campus representative, September 2016 to present

Current employment: Full-time NYU Tisch student

Previous SPJ experience: Student member, January 2016 to present

Past work experience: Digital Media Consultant at The Associated Press, May to November 2016; Contributor at, July 2016 to September 2017; Editorial Director at, March to September 2016; Editor-in-Chief at LSU LEGACY Magazine, March 2015 to April 2016

Education: New York University, Performance Studies, Art and Public Policy; Louisiana State University, English (creative Writing), Communication Studies and Linguistics

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I spent the past year serving as Campus Representative to SPJ's National Board of Directors, where I have helped revitalize the diversity fellowship, assisted in the selection of scholarship winners, established new relationships with other associations supporting journalists and journalism, brainstormed new ways to include student members in SPJ governance and chartering an all-new student chapter in New York City.

Active and unbiased inclusivity is an integral part of 21st-century journalism. In the coming months, I intend to help rebrand Quill, as well as grow SPJ's student and institutional chapter ranks with bold and innovative ideas. As 2017-2019 Vice President of Campus Chapter Affairs, I will continue helping marginalized millennial voices find an intersectional platform in the Society of Professional Journalists.

[Back to Top]

At-Large Director
Choose one

Melissa Allison

Current SPJ office: None

Current employment: Reporter at KPCW in Park City, Utah, 2016 to present.

Previous SPJ experience: None

Past work experience: Reporter at KVNU News in Cache Valley, Utah, 2015; and intern at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, 2014-16.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in arts from Utah State University. I also am a licensed esthetician.

Honors, awards and activities: Named first Media Scholar at Utah State University 2016.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Ethics, diversity and trust are threads that have been woven throughout my life. Ethics as a licensed esthetician and how I cared for my clients. Diversity in the sources I use and stories I cover. And trust, a quality that every relationship, be it personal or professional, must be built on in order to be sustained.

I see this position as an opportunity to give back to an industry that has changed my life. A community that garners much respect yet is under attack for simply doing that which it was designed to do: cover the news.

As director at-large, I want to build bridges and cast a spotlight on those areas that are ignored or forgotten. I am all ears and am ready to hear what you have to say.

Lauren Bartlett

Current SPJ office: Ethics Committee member

Current employment: Blue Shield of California, Corporate Communications

Previous SPJ experience: Director at-large, 2010-12; Ethics Committee member, 2010 to present; Finance Committee member, 2011-12; Communications Committee chair, 2011-13; Public Outreach Committee chair, 2009-10; Public Outreach Committee vice chair, 2008-09; SPJ/LA Board of Directors, 1996-2014; president, SPJ/LA, 1998, 1999 and 2007; president, UCLA chapter, 1984.

Past work experience: Media relations, Southern California Edison; media relations, UCLA; reporter, Los Angeles Daily Journal; reporter, City News Service; reporter, The Associated Press, Los Angeles bureau.

Education: UCLA, bachelor’s degree in political science.

Honors, awards and activities: SPJ national, President’s Award for Distinguished Service, 2011; Howard S. Dubin Award Outstanding Pro Member Award, 2001.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Ever since I was in the sixth grade and toured the newsroom of my regional daily newspaper, journalism has been my passion.

I was honored to serve the Society as a director at-large from 2010 to 2012. It’s disconcerting that many of the same issues facing journalists at that time have become even more critical today. And now the industry is facing attacks for “fake news,” making the need for the Society greater than ever.

My broad experience in SPJ, which includes campus chapter president, pro chapter president, national committee chair and national board member, uniquely qualifies me to help the Society achieve its goals.

If elected, I would:

—Increase public education about what journalists do on behalf of the Society. Partnerships with other journalism organizations and a strong push for media literacy will help us achieve that goal.

—Continue SPJ’s good work enhancing our standing nationally among journalists and the public as THE authority on journalism matters.

—Keep the spotlight on the importance of ethics, which are crucial in our ever-changing media landscape.

I would like to return to the national board and use my knowledge of what works and what doesn’t to achieve the Society’s goals. If delegates this year approve a proposal for a smaller, more strategic national board, I would apply my experience toward the most effective transition possible.

As a great admirer of Walt Disney’s creative accomplishments, I take to heart one of his company’s most popular maxims: If you can dream it, you can do it. I ask for your vote to enable me to serve the Society with the enthusiasm I have brought to the organization since my college days.

Randy Bateman

Current SPJ office: Seeking a position as an at-large director.

Current employment: President of Balcones Investment Research and editor of The Bot Brief, a weekly newsletter regarding the robotic revolution and its implications on the economy, investments and employment. It is a subscription piece that is distributed to academia, the media, investors and economists.

Past work experience: Have run subsidiaries of banks focusing on investment management, most recently as the chief investment officer of Huntington Bank in Columbus, Ohio, managing $15 billion. In the past, however, one of my subsidiaries produced information and written data for Crain’s Chicago, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, the L.A. Times, The American Banker, Crain’s Detroit, Crain’s New York, San Antonio Express News, Dallas Times Herald, Patriot Ledger.

I have written articles published in the CFA Digest (cover story, fall edition 2015), Pension World Magazine, Trust and Estates Magazine, and The Texas Bar Journal.

Education: B.A. in economics, North Carolina State University. Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Honors, awards and activities: Only two-time recipient of The American Banker’s Masters of Mutual Funds award; Barron’s Magazine’s Top 100 Fund Managers; Lipper’s No. 1 performing small cap fund; frequent guest on CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg News; managed 5 Star Morningstar mutual fund; shared speaking podium with Louis Ruykeyser, Ben Stein and Art Laffer; rang the opening bell at the NYSE. Member of American Economic Association, Chartered Financial Analyst Society, Robotic Industry Association, Society of Professional Journalists and United States Press Agency.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: The robotic revolution will have profound consequences — both positive and negative — on our economy, taxes, employment, health care, monetary policy and virtually every aspect of our future lives. Unfortunately, policy makers and the general public don’t sense the urgency of adapting to this bellwether irrevocable change.

If Moore’s Law can be applied to robotics, the geometric expansion of automation will rapidly spread before we can prepare for its inevitable consequences. SPJ has an opportunity to serve as a catalyst to address these issues and facilitate preparation for this potential new world order.

Mikal Belicove

Current SPJ office: N/A

Current employment: Freelance business and brand journalist

Previous SPJ experience: SPJ Region 11 Spring Conference attendee, 2013; SPJ JournCamp-Las Vegas attendee, 2016; SPJ member, 2016 to present; Excellence in Journalism Conference Presenter, 2017.

Past work experience: Director of membership and conferences, Association for Experiential Education, 1992-97; executive director, Adventure Travel Trade Association, 1997-98); publisher and editor-in-chief, The Outdoor Network, 1998-2002; acquisitions editor, Penguin Group USA and John Wiley and Sons, 2002-05); freelance business and brand journalist, 2005-17); columnist, Entrepreneur Magazine, 2009-16); contributing blogger, Forbes Magazine, 2012-14); columnist, Today’s Campus Magazine, 2012-14

Education: Keystone College, hotel and restaurant management, A.S. 1986; University of Houston, hotel and restaurant management, 1991; Keystone College, honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, 2012.

Honors, awards and activities: Member of the Board of Regents, Southern California University of Health Sciences, 2017-20); Advisory Board member, Cottonwood Institute, 2006-17; member of the Board of Trustees, Keystone College, 2013-16); SXSW Accelerator Advisory Board, 2013-15; Keystonian of the Year, Keystone College 2013; commencement keynote speaker, Keystone College, 2012; student body president, University of Houston, 1989-90.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Simply stated, I am interested in seeing SPJ — through its membership offerings, Code of Ethics and ranks — become the leading resource for those whose work now encompasses brand journalism; and, as a governance wonk, I want to support SPJ at the board level through servant leadership.

As media continues to evolve, and as the job outlook for those interested in traditional journalism careers becomes even more competitive, businesses and brands are seeking and finding value through the adoption and inclusion of freelance and in-house brand journalists. More than PR or corp comm professionals, these specialists possess journalistic training and knowhow but have no home per se when it comes to professional affiliation and development. This error of omission is SPJ’s opportunity, and I’d like to work behind the scenes to get us up to speed and prepared for the next wave of journalists needing our values, benefits and fellowship.

Finally, my philosophy on board leadership is this: In large organizations like SPJ, goals are created and monitored by boards of directors; whereas objectives, strategies and tactics are developed and worked on by staff, and then reported on back to the board as evidence of support and progress on meeting goals. In other words, I want to support SPJ at the board level by making sure we're giving staff the space and resources they need to do their jobs.

Michele Boyet

Current SPJ office: Director, SPJ Florida; co-chair, SPJ National Communications Committee

Current employment: Digital marketing manager, The Breakers Palm Beach, 2010 to present

Previous SPJ experience: SPJ Florida: vice president (2010-11), president (2011-12), past president (2012-13), VP of programs (2013-15), VP of membership (2015-16), director, 2016 to present, award judging for chapter contests and MOE Awards (2010 to present); SPJ National: member of SPJ Day of Giving Committee (2017), Resolutions Committee (2016-present), SPJ Digital Community (2015 to present) and Chapter Grant Committee (2012-2013)

Past work experience: Associate homepage producer, South Florida Sun Sentinel, 2008-10; assistant convention director, College Media Advisors, 2011 and 2012 conferences

Education: Florida Atlantic University, 2005-10; editor in chief, University Press, 2007-09

Honors, awards and activities: Board, SPJ Florida Chapter of the Year, SPJ National, 2010, 2014 and 2016; personal, Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, SPJ National, and Eisenhower First Amendment Award, Freedoms Foundation, both in 2010

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Some say the current political climate is devastating journalism. I say it’s the best thing to happen to us.

It’s brought journalists together. It’s urged supporters of journalism to step up. It’s put ethical, good journalism at the forefront. We’ve banded together to fight for press freedom and protect the First Amendment rights we value so very much.

And SPJ has led that charge — but we can always do more. I’m running for at-large director to join that fight and help take it to the next level.

As part of SPJ’s new Communication Committee, I had the honor of joining the national board in San Diego this January. Together, we took a critical eye to the organization’s five-year plan and SPJ’s role in today’s climate. We redefined our goals, outlining next steps to continue the fight for press freedom, mobilize journalists to educate the public, ensure SPJ dedicates itself to the inclusion of all who practice and support ethical journalism, and lastly, to provide the support and services that make membership essential.

Together, we can continue to support SPJ’s mission to inspire, encourage and support the act of journalism.

Are you ready to join the fight?

Elle Toussi

Current SPJ office: Co-chair of SPJ International Community

Current employment: Freelance and founder of In One Minute

Previous SPJ experience: Co-chair of SPJ International Community, 2015 to present

Past work experience: National Geographic Channels, Screen International, CBS Local, freelance

Education: Bachelor's degree in international relations, University of California, Irvine; journalism, University of California, Los Angeles; social impact leadership, Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Honors, awards and activities: SPJ Member of the Month, April 2016

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am always being asked what the future of journalism looks like. This year, more than ever, I’ve realized that there is a need to embrace tradition in theory and practice. This is where SPJ is set apart from all other organizations.

As the industry evolves and changes, I want to take this foundation that is set by SPJ and embrace the changes as they come into play. I would like to explore opportunities for SPJ and its members to take on this evolving industry. I am deeply fascinated and invested to continue my efforts to grow and strengthen the International Community.

SPJ is the foundation in journalism that fights for what is right in journalism. If elected as the director-at-large, I will dedicate the time and effort necessary to continue these efforts of the SPJ to provide the community and its members with unique opportunities and support necessary to continue their work in journalism.

Alex Veeneman

Current SPJ office: Member of Ethics Committee, October 2016 to present; contributing SPJ blogger, January 2015 to present

Current employment: Freelance journalist

Previous SPJ experience: Community coordinator, December 2014 to March 2017; chairman, SPJ Digital Community, July 2014 to March 2015; volunteer judge, Sigma Delta Chi Awards, 2014, 2015 and 2016; Quill contributor, November/December 2015 and March/April 2017 issues

Past work experience: Editor and writer, The Flyer, Lewis University, 2011-14; intern/editor, Uloop Student News Network, 2012 — pieces published in The Huffington Post

Education: Bachelor of Arts, print journalism and multimedia journalism, Lewis University, 2014

Honors, awards and activities: Member of the Month, January 2015

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Journalism is in a quandary. To resolve that, we must expand our conversation with the public and showcase why journalism remains quintessential, while at the same time assessing the industry’s new chapter in the digital age.

SPJ’s distinctive voice in promoting quality, ethical journalism is rooted with its members. You ensure the public is at their best, and SPJ, in turn, should ensure you remain at your best.

This is YOUR SPJ, and YOU should benefit from it. As at-large director I will not back down from that philosophy. I will expand educational and training opportunities, promote industrywide partnerships and create ways to help SPJ promote a more transparent, ethical industry for everyone.

You help the world be at its best. Elect me and I’ll ensure the profession and the organization you love remains at its best.

[Back to Top]

Campus Adviser At-Large
Currently unopposed

Jeff South

Current SPJ office: Member, SPJ Journalism Education Committee; board member, Virginia Pro chapter; faculty adviser, Virginia Commonwealth University chapter.

Current employment: Associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, Robertson School of Media and Culture, VCU.

Previous SPJ experience: Member since 1993 (with a vague recollection of joining while in college in the early 1970s). Former chair of the Journalism Education Committee.

Past work experience: Database editor and state editor, Austin American-Statesman, 1989-97; assistant city editor and general assignments reporter, Dallas Times Herald, 1987-89; projects reporter and assistant editor, The Phoenix Gazette, 1986-87; volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps 1983-85; city editor, The Virginian-Pilot, 1981-83; reporter, The Phoenix Gazette, 1979-81; reporter, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 1976-79; reporter, The Austin Citizen, 1975-76; editor, The Williamson County Sun, 1974-75.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism, University of Texas at Austin, 1974.

Honors, awards, activities: Received SPJ’s 2016 Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. Taught journalism in China in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar. Received VCU’s 2008 University Distinguished Teaching Award. Awarded a Knight International Journalism Fellowship to train Ukrainian journalists in investigative reporting and other skills in 2007.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I’d like to do at the national level what I have advocated at the campus level: inspiring the next generation of news professionals — the thought leaders and innovators who will carry public-service journalism into the future. At a time when our profession is under attack, we must be bold in articulating the mission and virtues of a free and independent press. Democracy depends on having journalists who will speak truth to power and hold government officials and institutions accountable.

[Back to Top]

Student Representative
Choose two

Rahim Chagani

Current SPJ office: None

Current employment: Student at Columbia Journalism School and copy editor at Ismaili magazine and website.

Previous SPJ experience: Student member.

Past work experience: Web producer and multimedia journalist for TED Talks; senior correspondent at IT COMM Week and Journal; contributory writer at Voices of New York, Gotham Gazette and Mott Haven Herald; an investigative reporter at; social media strategist and content editor at Big Idea Brands — Flow Society; sub/copy editor at two national newspapers (The Times of India and The Hindu); youngest associate editor for a city lifestyle magazine; English professor at IL& FS, India.

Education: Master of Science in journalism, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University; Bachelor of Arts in mass communication and journalism, St. Joseph’s Degree & P.G. College, Osmania University, Class of 2014, Hyderabad, India; and diplomas with "A" grade in Adobe Photoshop, PC Hardware and Software and Quantitative Reasoning and Aptitude.

Honors, awards and activities: Echelon Award in recognition of excellent achievement; valedictorian in the undergraduate degree in mass communication and journalism and subject topper; nominated for a national award — Youth Awards for Excellence — under creative expressions and leadership category; appointed organizing head of college film festival, “CinEvolution — Best in the World” and president of Presenters Club; awarded second prize in essay writing competition and science cartoon contest of Public Relations Society of India; presented at SIGNIS National Conference on the topic “New Media, New Generation”; my film “Aashayein” was selected in Top 20 and screened in “Kala Ghoda” National Film Festival.

Member of the South Asian Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association, Overseas Press Club of America and Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: This is the time for youth journalists to take a stand and report on the current happenings around the world, including the #trumpphenomenon, speculation of NASA’s discovery and many hidden secrets of the government.

Due to false reportage and the false accusation of the consumers, it's time that we educate them. Reporting the TRUTH of the truth. We need to stop reporting on others' reporting.

As a student representative, I’ll do my very best to bring forth ideas that can help bring about good journalism to the consumers. I’ll try and make sure to organize as many programs and workshops for student journalist so that they can be updated with the skills needed. In short, I’ll do everything in my power to help co-student journalists. It’s our fight and struggle. Let’s put our heads together and fight for our justice!

Marivel Guzman

Bio coming soon.

Hayley Harding

Current SPJ office: Immediate past president, Ohio University chapter

Current employment: Digital managing editor, The Post (Ohio University's independent student news outlet); data/investigations reporting intern through Dow Jones News Fund, McClatchy DC

Previous SPJ experience: President, Ohio University chapter, 2016-17; treasurer, Ohio University chapter, 2015-16; freshman liaison, Ohio University chapter, 2014-15 (helped plan Region 4 conference); delegate for Ohio University SPJ during 2016

Past work experience: Digital intern through Dow Jones News Fund, The Denver Post, June to August 2016; assistant managing editor, The Post, March 2016 to March 2017; intern, Mental Floss, May to August 2015.

Education: BSJ, news and information-gathering track, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, anticipated May 2018; B.A., political science, College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University, anticipated May 2018

Honors, awards and activities: National Outstanding Campus Chapter of the Year, Ohio University, 2015-16; Lasher-Evarts Quality of Writing Scholarship, awarded by E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, April 2017; Mark of Excellence, Region Four Finalist, April 2017; James W. Faulkner Memorial Scholarship for Political Reporting, awarded by Central Ohio Pro Chapter, April 2017

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office:

I share a birthday with both James Madison and National Freedom of Information Day, so for the past two years, I’ve celebrated with SPJ by giving others cake. On days that aren’t my birthday, I’ve helped arrange a regional conference, hosted several grammar competitions and been a part of nearly 100 programs. SPJ has shaped my college career, and I’m thankful to have been a part of it since my third week of college.

Now I’m entering my senior year, and I’ve learned SPJ is more than just geeking out about FOIA with people who just get it. In my three years of collegiate SPJ executive board experience, I've watched freshmen in college fall in love with an organization I know they will continue to cherish for a lifetime, and I want to advocate for that to continue even as journalism is under attack.

I want to help explore new ideas, such as how to expand our digital presence and recruit for the internet age, and promote the SPJ I know and love to students across the country. It's a tricky time to be getting into journalism, but with the backing of the Society of Professional Journalists, student journalists have the opportunity to become some of the best out there, holding people accountable and keeping our profession strong.

Kathy Rosenhammer

Current SPJ office: Ashford University Chapter president

Current employment: Self-employed, full-time college student, career volunteer

Previous SPJ experience: Second-year member, board member for the SPJ Freelance Community, local SPJ Ambassador for AfterDeadline and University Chapter vice president

Past work experience: Employed in the corporate world until 2008, Ambassador, Regional Director, and Executive Board member for various national nonprofit organizations.

Education: Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications and English, Ashford University, graduating in January 2019.

Honors, awards and activities: Golden Key International Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society, Dean’s List, Catholic Charities Volunteer of the Year 2010, co-founder and president of Omega Rho Lambda Upsilon

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am seeking the student representative position to further spread the awareness of SPJ and all the benefits that the organization offers. As a student and officer of one of the few online college SPJ chapters, I believe it is important to offer an online student perspective and challenges to other chapters. Being an older college student, I can relate to both the older generation and the younger student body.

As a non-traditional adult college student, I know how important it is for like minds to connect and how organizations such as SPJ can enhance not only the learning process but also how networking is invaluable.

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Region 2 Director
Currently unopposed

Andy Schotz

Current SPJ office: Region 2 director

Current employment: None; laid off in April. Was night city editor at The Frederick News-Post in Maryland.

Previous SPJ experience: Finishing second term as Region 2 director. Chairman of SPJ Awards and Honors Committee. Three consecutive terms as president of Washington, D.C., Pro chapter. On SPJ Ethics Committee, 2004-11, including three years as chairman. Ran unsuccessfully for at-large national director in 2012.

Past work experience: Reporter/editor at The Altamont Enterprise, weekly paper in upstate New York, 1992-2000; reporter at The Herald-Mail, daily paper in Hagerstown, Maryland, 2000-13; an editor at The Gazette, chain of weeklies near D.C., 2013-15 (chain folded); night city editor at The Frederick News-Post, 2015-17 (job was cut)

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University at Albany, New York; Ealing College, London, one semester

Honors, awards and activities: 2013 Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award, large chapters; 2014 SPJ Regional Director of the Year; reporting, photography and editorial writing awards from The Associated Press, New York Press Association, International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Local Media Association; on International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors board of directors

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I’m a firm believer in SPJ and its mission. As a board member, I speak out, keep all SPJers informed and challenge the organization to be better, such as through a new governance structure being considered this year, a concept I support. I’m responsive and have thick skin. I’m proud of working to switch SPJ to a democratic representation model through One Member, One Vote, overcoming years of resistance. Now, all members directly choose SPJ’s leaders. My latest project is getting the First Amendment on everyone’s back — through an awesome inexpensive T-shirt that will be sold at this year’s convention.

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Region 3 Director
Currently unopposed

Michael Koretzky

Current SPJ office: Region 3 director

Current employment: editor

Previous SPJ experience: SPJ Florida board member, 2005-07; national at-large director, 2008-10; SPJ Florida president, 2011; Region 3 director, 2011 to present

Past work experience: Athens Daily News reporter, 1989-90; Sun Sentinel reporter, 1990-92; iCE Magazine editor and publisher, 1992-94; XS Magazine entertainment editor, 1994-97; Palm Beach Free Press editor, 1998-2000; FAU University Press adviser, 1998-2010; Jazziz Magazine associate editor and managing editor, 2000-08; Globe, Star, National Enquirer copy editor, 2002-09; Money Talks News editor, 2010-12; Life Magazine Group editor in chief, 2012-13

Education: University of Florida, 1983-89, didn't graduate

Honors, awards and activities: 2015 SPJ Regional Director of the Year. And in 2012, SPJ President John Ensslin gave me an empty cigar box with one cigar scotch-taped to the top. He called it the “Thinking Outside the Box Award.” But he never told me what happened to the other cigars.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I want to change SPJ’s name and expand its mission and membership. I want SPJ to wield media innovations as deftly as it encourages its members to. I want to create, support and pimp programming that goes far beyond speeches, lectures, panel discussions and symposiums. I want SPJ to do more for diversity than dump mundane tasks on its Diversity Committee. Finally, I hear there are groupies. And because no one ever reads these candidate statements, the first person to email me at receives a free SPJ T-shirt.

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Region 6 Director
Currently unopposed

Joe Radske

Current SPJ office: Region 6 director

Current employment: News director, KVRR Fargo, North Dakota

Previous SPJ experience: Region 6 director, 2013 to present, SPJ Madison Pro vice president, 2010-13

Past work experience: News director, WKOW-Madison, KPTM-Omaha, WVTV-Milwaukee

Education: B.A., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Honors, awards and activities: Walker Institute, UW-Madison Business School, 2015; Carol Kneeland, 2005; Midwest Emmy for Best Spot News, 1994; RTDNA member; FBI Citizens Academy, Milwaukee/Omaha.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office:

I'm not done. I'm not done making a difference every day. I've committed myself to being voice of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota on a national level for SPJ. While I've been for incredible highs executed by Minnesota Pro, Madison Pro and UW-Eau Claire campus chapters. I have struggled to keep other chapters active and starting chapters in areas underserved by SPJ. The voice I respond to and care about is the journalist who wants to know, "What do I get from my membership in SPJ?"

I don't have all the answers, but together we can find the solutions. Being an SPJ member is a privilege. Being your Region 6 director is my honor.

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Region 10 Director
Choose one

Ethan Chung

Current SPJ office: Region 10 director

Current employment: Senior editor for custom media, SagaCity Media

Previous SPJ experience: Past president, Western Washington Pro, 2014; president, Western Washington Pro, 2013; president elect/VP, 2012, Western Washington Pro; Executive Board member, 2011-12; Western Washington Pro, Region 10 director, 2015 to present

Past work experience: Associate editor, 2015-16), SagaCity Media; deputy editor, 2012-15, Premier Media Group (425 and South Sound magazines); assistant editor, 2006-12, Premier Media Group (425 and South Sound magazines)

Education: University of Puget Sound, 2004, B.A. in English (writing, rhetoric and culture)

Honors, awards and activities: Scripps Leadership Institute graduate; multiple-time winner of the annual Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am seeking re-election as the Region 10 director to help build on the work our chapters have accomplished over the past few years. I’d like to continue to foster strong relationships with chapter leaders, chapter members and non-affiliated members in Region 10.

As Region 10 director, I led the charge to plan, develop, market and execute the annual Northwest Excellence in Journalism competition, which helps raise thousands of dollars for programming, scholarships and more. The process is notoriously difficult and full of pitfalls but is a vital fundraiser for our region. I also planned and executed the 2016 regional conference in Seattle and served as a panel member and helped facilitate the 2017 regional conference in Portland. One of my biggest goals if re-elected is to have SPJ in Region 10 better serve unaffiliated members and student members.

I bring years of institutional knowledge to the position, plus strong relationships with chapter and national leaders and the passion (and patience) required for the role and organization.

Donald W. Meyers

Current SPJ office: Board member, William O. Douglas Chapter

Current employment: Reporter/multimedia reporter with the Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic

Previous SPJ experience: Region 9 director, 2010-14; Utah Headliners Board member, 1996-2013; Utah Headliners chapter president, 2002-04; Utah Headliners chapter vice president, 2000-02; graduate of 2012 Scripps Institute; served on SPJ’s national Freedom of Information committee.

Past work experience: Site manager,, 2012-13; reporter, Salt Lake Tribune, 2007-13; editorial page editor, Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, 1998-2007; reporter, Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, 1993-98; reporter, Greater Media Newspapers (New Jersey), 1988-93

Education: Brookdale Community College, majored in journalism 1982-85; Brigham Young University, majored in communications/print journalism, 1985-87

Honors, awards and activities: 2013, third place in business reporting in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest; 2011, first place in spot news in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest; 2006, first place in editorial writing in the Utah Press Association’s annual contest, first and second place in editorial writing in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest; 2005, first place in editorial writing in the Utah Press Association’s annual contest, first place in editorial writing and second place in columns in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists annual contest; 2004, first place in editorial writing and personal columns in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest, third place in best editorial and best editor’s column categories in the Utah Press Association’s annual contest; 2003, third place for editorials in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest and honorable mention for personal columns; 2002, third place for coverage of Tom Green polygamy trial from the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists and the Utah Press Association’s annual contests, third place for editorial writing in the Utah Headliners Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists’ annual contest, first place for breaking news in the Utah‐Idaho‐Spokane Associated Press Association’s annual contest for breaking news; 2000, third place in the Utah‐Idaho‐Spokane Associated Press Association’s annual contest for opinion column writing; 1996, Environmental Excellence Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 for comprehensive coverage of air quality issues in Utah County, first place for best editor’s column in Utah Press Association’s annual contest; 1995, first place in the Utah Press Association’s annual contest for best editor’s column.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: For nearly 30 years, SPJ has given me the opportunity to meet with and learn from some of the best minds in journalism. I also know SPJ stands behind journalists when facing fights to open access to meetings and records.

Serving in SPJ is a way to give back.

I bring a rich trove of experience in both journalism and SPJ. I know the challenges the “digital first” world brings to our industry. I have seen firsthand what is happening to newsroom staffs.

But economic challenges are not the only things facing our profession. Journalism is under assault as never before. In our own region, a journalist was physically attacked by a political candidate for no other reason than just doing his job.

These challenges make it even more important to stick with journalism’s core values, which are so eloquently stated in SPJ’s Code of Ethics.

As your regional director, I will work to help SPJ uphold those values and defend the press’s role in our system of government. I will actively work with our chapters to better serve their members and make their concerns known on the national level. I will help organize chapters where there are none currently and work with at-large members.

I will make sure our regional conference is a place where professionals and students can come together to share knowledge, network and inspire each other to do better journalism.

I thank you for your consideration and ask you for your support.

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Region 11 Director
Currently unopposed

Matt Hall

Current SPJ office: Region 11 director since 2014

Current employment: Editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Previous SPJ experience: Former president, vice president and secretary, San Diego Pro Chapter; 2015 SPJ/Google News Lab trainer; 2014 Ted Scripps Leadership Institute graduate

Past work experience: Former reporter at The Derry (N.H.) News, The Concord (N.H.) Monitor, The (San Diego) Daily Transcript and The San Diego Union-Tribune, where I was also city columnist and public engagement editor.

Education: 1994 English/journalism degree, University of New Hampshire; 2005 Western Knight Center fellow at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; 2017 Donald M. Murray Visiting Journalist at UNH

Honors, awards and activities: Proud president of San Diego Pro Chapter when it was named national chapter of the year in 2015; past recipient of blog and column of the year awards from the San Diego Press Club; past recipient of blog, feature story and criticism of the year awards — as well as the Herbert Lockwood "Woody" Award for humor writing — from the San Diego Pro Chapter; four-time San Diego Union-Tribune Golden Shoe winner as the newsroom’s fastest male finisher in a company-sponsored 8k road race, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: More than ever, journalism needs experienced, ethical leaders who understand that credibility is what matters most in the public eye and that creativity is what matters most in a disruptive digital age. I love journalism and the West, and I want to keep building on SPJ's successes nationally and in our four states.

In my first two terms, I improved regional communication by talking regularly with professional chapter leaders, strengthening college chapters, building new Region 11 Twitter and Facebook communities and helping to plan successful regional conferences in San Francisco, Phoenix and San Diego. We’re already planning next year’s regional conference in the Los Angeles area, and I'm working closely with national board leaders to ensure SPJ stays relevant and respected worldwide. I’d be honored to continue celebrating, improving and protecting journalism with you.

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Region 12 Director
Currently unopposed

Kelly Kissel

Current SPJ office: Treasurer, Arkansas Pro.

Current employment: News editor, The Associated Press, Little Rock

Previous SPJ experience: Region 12 director, 2011-12; past president of Arkansas Pro, 2015-16; longtime local board member and also active during college years.

Past work experience: AP posts in Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma; The Advocate, Baton Rouge; several radio and pair of TV jobs.

Education: B.A. in journalism from LSU, 1984.

Honors, awards and activities: Winner, William Randolph Hearst National Collegiate Writing Championship; handful of internal AP honors; several Katie Awards and SPJ chapter journalism awards, but that’s not why we do what we do.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I’ve spent more than half my career in a Region 12 state and believe I understand the issues that arise here and know enough of the principals involved that I can effectively represent the journalism community on a national stage.

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