Home    Sign In    Join    Give    More

> Latest News, Blogs and Events (tap to expand)

Home > SPJ Election Central > Meet the Candidates

Meet the Candidates

Jump to:
Run for office
Participate as a voting SPJ member
Meet the candidates
Regional Delegate information

Election Central
Meet the Candidates

Skip to a position:
At-Large Director (two-year term)

Regional Coordinators:   1 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9

Please note: Regional Coordinators no longer serve on SPJ's Board of Directors. For more information about this change, consult SPJ's bylaws.

Currently unopposed

Sue Kopen Katcef

Current SPJ Office: Chair, SPJ National Awards and Honors Committee

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I am seeking SPJ office because I believe that I bring the passion and experience as a long-time SPJ member and leader needed to continue to grow SPJ’s role in providing help and support for journalists in the battle to defend the First Amendment and keep the public informed.

Journalism is essential to a democracy. But journalism is facing challenges that test even the most dedicated among us: the elimination and/or contraction of jobs; physical threats or attacks; and verbal assaults from the highest elected office in the country. We also face the ongoing challenge of making certain our newsrooms better reflect the diversity of the communities we cover—and that includes both staff and leadership.

While I believe there is strength in numbers journalists often aren’t the best advocates for the cause we hold dear.

That’s where SPJ comes in. And that’s why I am seeking the position of SPJ President-elect.

I believe that SPJ has and must continue to be that voice which represents ALL who “commit acts of journalism.” I want to be that voice and motivating force for change.

I believe that SPJ, with our Legal Defense Fund, Code of Ethics and Ethics Hotline provides resources critically important to helping journalists. But we must do a better job of making others aware of those resources and what they offer.

I want to also grow SPJ’s membership. In particular, I want to see an all-out-effort to improve retention of members—both veterans and students/post-grads.

In addition, the journalism profession of today involves the growing participation of some many might think of as “non-traditional” journalists: social media editors, drone operators, data visualization designers and positions yet to be created. These positions are now as critical to the work we do as those of us who use a pen & pad, camera & microphone. I want to see our membership roll expanded to include ALL who play a role in both news gathering and its production in all of its various forms.

I want SPJ to better reflect the journalism of today with an eye always on tomorrow.

That is why I am seeking the office of SPJ President-elect.

Previous SPJ Experience:
– National Board Member:
   - Vice President Campus Chapter Affairs (2013-2019)
   - Campus Adviser At-Large (2005-2010)

– SDX Foundation Board member (2013-2019 & 2007-2010)
– Chair, SPJ National Awards & Honors Committee 2019- & 2012-2013; member 2011-
– Campus Adviser, University of Maryland Chapter, 1999-2019
– D.C. SPJ Pro Chapter
   - Corresponding Secretary, 2001-2013

– Maryland Pro Chapter
   - President, 1993-1995
   - Vice-President, 1985-86
   - Scholarship Chair (1997-2006); Membership Chair (1993-1995)

– Chaired more than a half dozen Region 2 conferences
– Co-chair SPJ National Convention, Baltimore, 1992

Work Experience:
– (Current) Freelance reporter, Maryland Public Television (October 2019--)
– University of Maryland, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Broadcast Bureau Director-Capital News Service/Sr. Lecturer, 1999-2019
– WBAL Radio, Baltimore; news anchor/reporter
– Maryland Public Television, 1987-1992
– Congressman Ben Cardin, Press Secretary, Jan. 1987-Dec. 1987
– Speaker Ben Cardin, Md State House, Legislative/Press Aide, Sept. 1985-Dec. 1986
– WCBM/Metromedia Radio, Baltimore. Reporter/Anchor 1980-1985; 1976-1979
– WJZ Television, Baltimore, Reporter Sept. 1979 — Feb. 1980
– Associated Press Radio, Editor/Reporter, Oct. 1975-April 1976
– AP Broadcast Stringer (Washington, D.C.) Aug. 1974-May 1975
– ABC Radio, Washington, Desk Assistant May 1975-Nov. 1975

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

Honors, Awards and Activities:
– NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences -Emmys), National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter: Education Committee, (2011- )
– Coordinator “Face Time with the Pros” regional student broadcast news seminar co-sponsored by NATAS/NCCBC & CAPBA
– Co-author/editor of “A Journalist’s Guide to Maryland’s Legal System”
– Inducted NATAS, NCCBC Silver Circle for Outstanding Contributions to the Broadcast Industry, March 2017
– Distinguished Service Award, DC-SPJ Chapter, 2010
– Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society, Initiated Dec. 2007
– SPJ Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award, 2002-2003
– SPJ David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award, 2001-2002
– University of Maryland Panhellenic Association Outstanding Faculty Member, 2002

Reporting Awards from:
– Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association: 2000, 1999, 1995, 1983, 1980, 1979
– New York Festivals Bronze Medal, 1999
– RTDNA Regional Awards: 1999, 1997, 1996
– Maryland State Bar Association Gavel Awards: 1999, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1983
– American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award, 1981

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

I know first-hand that journalism can make a difference.

It’s not often you can win a battle over FERPA with a university. But, my students and I did just that. We sought information concerning how many students had been disciplined by the Student Board of Conduct on (civil) charges relating to sexual assault during a 10-year-period. It took a number of semesters of persistent reporting but we succeeded in getting an opinion from the office of the Maryland Attorney General telling the University it had to release that information to us because it was not protected by FERPA.

It took several years and several hundred dollars, but that persistence paid off and it made an enormous change in the reporting of sexual assault stories on our campus from that time forward.

Backed by the Maryland SPJ Pro Chapter many years ago, I was the coordinator and co-editor of “A Journalist’s Guide to Maryland’s Legal System.” It was a first-of-its-kind (at least in Maryland) legal primer for journalists and news organizations (and it was just recently updated). It was a much needed resource and I was only too happy to have developed the project and see it through.

For two decades as a full-time instructor and ten more before that as an adjunct at my alma mater, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, I have trained and mentored young journalists who are now well into their careers in front of and behind the camera & microphone at stations, large and small, around the country as well as at a few networks.

I’ve worked nearly every phase of the business: a summer job at my small hometown newspaper doing everything from writing stories, to searching out court records to shooting photos and writing headlines; radio anchor/reporter (WCBM/Metromedia) as well as a TV reporter in Baltimore (WJZ & Maryland Public Television). And I even had a turn on the “other” side as the press secretary to a former MD House Speaker who was elected to Congress and was with him his first year on Capitol Hill.

Now, I’ve had to reinvent myself a bit yet again.

I’m currently a freelance reporter for Maryland Public Television. Since the pandemic hit in March I’ve been shooting (on my iPhone) and editing all of my video packages now airing on our MPT news show, “State Circle” (as well as posting to social media).

Throughout, I’ve been an active member of SPJ (since my sophomore year in college) with leadership roles at the local and national level.

Those positions include:

– President, Maryland Pro Chapter
– University of Maryland Student Chapter Adviser
– Washington, DC Pro Chapter, Corresponding Secretary
– SPJ National Board—Campus Adviser-At Large
– SPJ National Board—Vice-President Campus Chapter Affairs
– SPJ National Awards & Honors Committee, Chair (and long-time committee member)
– Co-chair SPJ National Convention, Baltimore, 1992
– Chair/coordinator of more than a half-dozen successful Region 2 conferences

I believe I bring the length, depth and variety of experience needed for the position of SPJ President-Elect. And it is for those reasons that I believe I am the best candidate for this position.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ?

A few include:

– getting the board to approve an extension of the post-graduate reduced membership fee for a third year and creating a further incentive for post-grads by offering a two-for-three year deal (i.e., pay for two years of post-grad membership and get the third year free)

– during my first time around as chair of the Awards & Honors Committee I began what has become a nearly annual review of our categories (SDX and MOE) to try to keep the contests relevant and in touch with the changes in the industry

– this year as chair of the Awards & Honors Committee we not only added some important new categories to the SDX and MOE contests (including data visualization, immersion journalism (VR/360), collaborative journalism and fact finding) but we also undertook a complete overhaul of the list of SPJ’s historic sites on spj.org. We wanted to make that site interactive and interesting and, hopefully, a truly useable resource for students at all levels. I believe we have accomplished that.

– under the auspices of the Awards & Honors Committee we teamed up with the Associated Collegiate Press, the Society for News Design, College Broadcasters, Inc. and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to create the “”CCC Awards”—College Coronavirus Coverage contest soon after the COVID-19 shutdown began around the country. This was a free, weekly contest for college journalists to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to cover the pandemic and keep their audiences/readers/viewers informed. We received nearly a thousand entries during the contest from students at colleges large and small—and even entries from students studying out of the country. It was a terrific way to support student journalists and get SPJ’s name out.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why?

Among my priorities:

– Promoting one of SPJ’s least promoted but one of its most valuable resources: our Legal Defense Fund. I have served on the LDF Committee and know of its many good works on behalf of SPJ and journalism with providing both financial and amicus support to journalists often in public records and open meetings battles.

– Promoting SPJ’s Ethics Hotline: again, this is a terrific resource for both SPJ members and non-members who are seeking guidance on ethics during the course of their work. But, again, it has a low profile among members.

– Growing our student and post-grad members and getting them more invested, engaged and involved.

– Working on ways to broaden our membership tent and continue to encourage and grow a diverse membership.

[Back to Top]


No declared candidates yet.

[Back to Top]

At-Large Director
(Two-year term)

Choose two

Andrew M. Seaman

Current SPJ Office: None.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Journalism is vital to society. We face many immediate threats around the world, including autocratic governments who don’t want their deeds exposed, unstable business models and a skeptical public. The challenges are made more difficult by the ongoing global health crisis that has crippled and shuttered far too many newsrooms. SPJ has long existed as the “umbrella organization” for journalists, serving the profession in any capacity that time and finances allowed. This time calls for a much more pointed mission, however. I believe SPJ should use its time and resources to advocate for a strong and independent press that uphold our professional best practices. As a 501 C (6) non-profit organization, we are best positioned in the landscape of other professional journalism organizations to take up this cause. I want to help focus the SPJ’s mission toward this focus. I believe my professional experiences, my time spent on SPJ’s board and my years leading its ethics committee have prepared me to take on this challenge and the work of the organization.

Previous SPJ Experience: I served as the founding president of Wilkes University’s student SPJ chapter during my undergraduate career. During that time, I became a student representative on SPJ’s board of directors and was involved in the chapter at my graduate school. Afterward, I became a leader of the young member committee and several other committees. I was then picked to help revise SPJ’s Code of Ethics, which was adopted in 2014. I then chaired the ethics committee until the end of 2018, when I was awarded the Wells Memorial Key — SPJ’s highest honor. During my time as ethics committee chair, I represented SPJ at numerous conferences and in scores of interviews, including The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Work Experience: I began my professional journalism career in college as a contract writer for USA TODAY — continuing through my graduate school education. After graduation, I began work in Reuters bureau in Washington, D.C. I covered the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I then moved to Reuters headquarters in New York to cover the science of medicine, eventually becoming the news agency’s senior medical journalist. I also became digital editor for Reuters website and social media. In 2018, I moved to LinkedIn’s editorial team, where I now focus on delivering news and views to its members — especially job seekers.

Education: I have a B.A. in communication studies from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I also have an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, where I was a Stabile Scholar in investigative journalism.

Honors, Awards and Activities:
– SPJ: Wells Memorial Key and several President Awards
– SCJ: Louis Ingelhart SCJ Freedom of Expression Award

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

I have a proven track record for taking on tough tasks for SPJ and delivering great results. As an at-large director, I’ll be able to deploy those talents and work with my peers on the national board and throughout the organization to overcome the challenges we face. I hope my track record as SPJ’s ethics chair speaks for itself — whether raising the profile of the organization through free 30-story high electronic billboards in Times Square or helping journalists in crisis around the world when they were facing immediate threats and challenges. I promise to continue that work to meet the needs of SPJ, its members and the profession.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ?

In addition to championing the revised Code of Ethics after its adoption in 2014, I created campaigns to educate journalists and the public about its contents and purpose. I coordinated the translation of the Code into several languages and oversaw its promotion to newsrooms and classrooms around the world. Additionally, I raised the profile of SPJ’s Ethics Week to include events across the U.S. and giant billboards in Times Square. I created an arsenal of educational and engaging presentations that have been used by SPJ members around the world. I am most proud about being among the group of SPJ leaders to revise and adopt its Code of Ethics, which is and should remain the standard for the profession.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why?

My biggest priority will be making sure SPJ is stronger and more focused by the end of my term than it was in the beginning. To accomplish that goal, I want to consistently remind the organization’s leadership to remain focused on our mission. Additionally, I want to help and support projects that also support our mission — whether they are led by people at SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis or by our chapters across the country. I also want to make sure that I support my peers on the national board — especially Matthew Hall, who I believe will be an excellent president.

Haisten Willis

Current SPJ Office: None.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: Because I believe in the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists and because I find it so much fun to be involved with SPJ. For these reasons, I would be honored to step up my involvement to the level of the national board and to help SPJ promote and protect journalism in the United States. This is my seventh full year of SPJ membership, and during that time I’ve aided the organization in numerous ways — as a chapter president, member of multiple national committees, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute graduate, Quill contributor, SDX Awards judge and associate judge, and even as a keynote speaker for the student union event at EIJ 2019 in San Antonio. Combining this background with a vision for stronger journalism advocacy, I feel prepared for a role on the board should the membership of SPJ see fit to elect me.

Previous SPJ Experience: SPJ Georgia president, 2018. SPJ Georgia board member, 2017-2019. Member, SPJ Freedom of Information Committee, 2018-present. Member, SPJ Freelance Community, 2016-present. SDX Awards judge and associate judge. Ted Scripps Leadership Institute graduate, 2017. Quill contributor, 2018-present. SPJ member, 2014-present.

Work Experience: Freelance Journalist, 2016-present. Bylines in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Quill, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, The Bitter Southerner, Diversity in Action, Georgia Trend, SB Nation and others.

– Editor, France Media Inc., 2014-2016.
– Reporter, Marietta Daily Journal, 2014.
– Reporter & Editor, Newspapers of West Georgia, 2011-2014.

Education: B.A., Georgia Southern University, 2008. M.A., mass communication and journalism, California State University, Fresno, 2010.

Honors, Awards and Activities: Member, Atlanta Press Club. Member, National Association of Real Estate Editors. Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship recipient, 2018. Student union event keynote speaker, Excellence in Journalism conference, 2019. Panelist, SPJ "stories from the frontlines: journalists and protests” webinar with CNN’s Brian Stetler, 2020.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

I’m passionate about journalism and passionate about promoting the profession, not only within our own ranks but in the wider public consciousness. I’m a working journalist still pretty early in my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to write for some of our nation’s biggest news outlets including The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report, and for the big players in my state like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Magazine.

But, like most if not all of you, I’m tired of reading about attacks on journalists, verbal or otherwise. Too often we are hit with name calling and anti-press catch phrases, and forced to defend ourselves by talking about what we are not. It’s time to talk about what we are: We are the fourth estate. We are the only industry prominently named in the U.S. Bill of Rights. We are Woodward and Bernstein. We are Julie K. Brown. We are Nikole Hannah-Jones. We are the Pentagon Papers. We are Spotlight. We are the Society of Professional Journalists. These are the terms that should be used to describe our profession, and as a board member I’d work to ensure this message reaches the American public.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ?

Along with SPJ Region 3 Coordinator Michael Koretzky and Ethics Committee Chair Lynn Walsh, I’m working to establish Press the Flesh, an event through which SPJ members will learn how to lobby directly from lobbyists themselves. Sponsored by the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee and originally scheduled to take place on Capitol Hill during EIJ 2020, in a revised form it will likely be held multiple times online. There is considerable journalism lobbying already being done in Washington, but much more is needed at the state level. Through Press the Flesh, we can help fill that gap.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why?

Advocacy is my top priority. In an age when journalism is under constant attack, SPJ is uniquely positioned to be the clearest and loudest voice speaking out for our profession. This organization enjoys a long history of advocacy work, dating back at least to when SPJ members played a crucial role in getting the original Freedom of Information Act passed in 1966. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Our advocacy role continues strongly today, but I feel we can do even more in this space and make advocacy the calling card of SPJ.

Beyond that, the next board will need to work with our staff and executive director to help clear up SPJ’s financial future. I also envision better communication between our local and national levels, namely through quarterly conference calls between chapter presidents and national board and staff members. This will allow the exchange of ideas and building of relationships that will further strengthen SPJ into the next decade and beyond.

[Back to Top]

Region 1 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

Jane Primerano

Current SPJ Office: Region 1 Coordinator

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I still have some goals to accomplish in Region 1. I am committed to creating either a Philadelphia Chapter or a satellite chapter of Keystone in Philadelphia. I also want to continue to link community colleges with four-year colleges that have student chapters to increase the involvement of community college students who are often very enthusiastic about SPJ. In addition, I am chair of the Regional Coordinators Caucus/Committee and want to continue to work with the other coordinators on chapter issues.

Previous SPJ Experience: I served one year as Interim Regional Director of Region 1 when Rebecca Baker became secretary-treasurer. Before that I was Rebecca’s assistant RD for two years. I joined the board of the NJPro Chapter in 2004 and was president for three years.

Work Experience: I am currently freelancing, primarily for agriculture publications. I have been a reporter/photographer/editor for many years.

Education: Wagner College, BA in English/Secondary Education. Also course work in technical writing, graphic arts and photography.

Honors, Awards and Activities: I received the President’s Award from Rebecca Baker in 2018. I have received numerous awards for writing and photography from SPJ, New Jersey Press Association, New Jersey Press Women, Garden State Press Association and the National Association of Advertising Publishers.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

My experience serving Region 1.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ?

I worked with the Maine and New England Chapters to provide a smooth transition from an independent Maine Chapter to a satellite chapter. Three new student chapters have been formed in Region 1 since I have been RD/RC.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why?

Continuing to support my chapters in their programming and membership issues. Continuing to bring in student chapters. Increasing our presence in Philadelphia, upstate New York and northern New England.

[Back to Top]

Region 4 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

Ginny McCabe

Current SPJ Office: Currently, I serve on SPJ’s Membership Committee and I’m on the board of the Freelance Committee. I also serve as the Cincinnati SPJ chapter president and plan to continue in that role. This is my second term as president of the Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter. Previously, I have also served as the chapter’s secretary for multiple terms.

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I’ve been actively involved with SPJ for more than a decade and have worked alongside strong leaders in Cincinnati including Hagit Limor, Tom McKee, Jenny Wohlfarth, and Patti Newberry, among others. I also have built lasting relationships with other SPJ leaders and members throughout the region and on a national level.

I’m excited about the opportunity to further SPJ’s mission! I hope to help strengthen SPJ over the next two years and look forward to furthering the organization’s goals and initiatives.

Previous SPJ Experience: In addition to acting as a leader for the local chapter, I am actively involved with SPJ’s growing freelance community and I also fulfill a role representing Region 4 on SPJ’s national membership committee. I have been actively involved at the local, regional, and national levels of SPJ for more than 10 years. The Cincinnati chapter was founded in 1967 and the chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. SPJ leaders like our founding chapter member, Emil Dansker, 90, have not only paved the way for me, but they have continued to instill the outstanding values of journalism and SPJ, not only in my work with SPJ, but in my professional career as a journalist and a freelancer. I continue to strive for excellence personally and professionally.

Work Experience: As a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, media professional, speaker and teacher, my work can be seen in publications like Journal-News and Reuters. My books have been published by Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and Standard Publishing. I have spent decades covering topics like news, entertainment, business, and faith-inspired themes. Currently, I serve as president on the board of Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists. I am also a member Christian Author's Network and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Secrets Young Women Keep is an ECPA Silver Medallion winner and has been featured on the CBA Young Adult Bestseller Lists. I was named "Best Freelance Writer" in 2018 and a Kiplinger Fellow in 2019.

Education: I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Cincinnati Christian University.

Ted Scripps Leadership Institute — SPJ, Scripps, 2017 graduate, certificate, journalism, leadership

Hostile Environment Training — Thomson Reuters, 2017 graduate, certificate, two-day course, journalism

Honors, Awards and Activities: My awards include an ECPA Silver Medallion Award for Secrets Young Women Keep and Bestselling Author status from Christian Bookseller's Association/CBA Bestseller lists. I have also received multiple SPJ awards on local and regional levels, including “Freelancer of the Year” in Ohio’s Best Journalism contest in 2018. Other standout awards include a Best News Story Award for "Harambe" (Reuters) and a Best News Writing Award for "Ray Tensing/Sam DuBose First Trial" (Reuters) as well as "Best Arts Profile" (Journal-News) "Best Arts Review" (Journal-News) and "Best Rock and Roll Feature Writing" (Journal-News, three years in a row.) In 2018, I earned honors for my work in Journal-News, Reuters, and Dayton Magazine. A few of the seven awards include "Best Investigative Reporting" (Reuters,) "Best News Writing" (Reuters,) and "Best Freelance Writer" (Reuters).

The Cincinnati chapter of SPJ has been named small "Chapter of the Year" three times in the past several years.

Kiplinger Fellow, Class of 2019.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position? I have a longstanding, successful career within news, media, and publishing organizations. My experience as a local SPJ leader has allowed me to further my leadership skills, while working hard with other chapter members on many notable programs and events in Cincinnati. I am committed to SPJ and desire to work together with others on a local, regional, and national level to accomplish SPJ’s initiatives and goals.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ? I have worked diligently to help maintain and build the Cincinnati chapter’s communications tools, including the chapter website, social media channels and a quarterly newsletter. With encouragement from Hazel Becker from the DC Chapter, (and a member of SPJ’s Freelance Committee,) I helped to start a quarterly luncheon program for freelancers in Greater Cincinnati.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why? Region 4 has many strong leaders in chapters across the region. I would like to help further the efforts of the professional and student chapters in the region. I hope to be a resource to aid chapters and chapter leaders as we all work together to achieve SPJ’s goals. The work of a journalist has never been more important and SPJ’s voice is not only beneficial for all of us, but critical in these unprecedented times.

[Back to Top]

Region 5 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

Amy Merrick

Current SPJ Office: Region 5 Coordinator

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: SPJ should play a central role in promoting ethical and equitable journalism. Both journalists and audiences are focused on how newsrooms can be more inclusive and fairer in their recruitment, hiring and retention, as well as in their coverage. Right now, we have a great opportunity for chapters and members to learn from, support and inspire one another as they report on historic events. The more-experienced members in our region of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky have so much insight and guidance to offer, and our younger members can promote valuable new perspectives.

Previous SPJ Experience: I’ve served as Region 5 Coordinator since 2018 and have been the faculty adviser of DePaul University’s SPJ chapter since 2015.

Work Experience: I was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade, covering everything from housing to banking to pharmacies to state budgets, all out of the Chicago bureau. Since then, I’ve edited a university research magazine and several books, and I freelance for local and national magazines.

At DePaul, in addition to advising the SPJ chapter, I teach news, business, feature, magazine and multimedia reporting, and advise 14 East magazine, an independent, student-run online publication.

Education: BSJ/MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism; MFA in writing from Pacific University

Honors, Awards and Activities: In 2020, I received DePaul’s university-wide Excellence in Leadership Award for faculty adviser of the year. DePaul’s SPJ chapter was the runner-up for National Campus Chapter of the Year in 2018. I have twice received DePaul’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position? As of today, I’m running unopposed for the second time. This highlights a larger issue across SPJ: We need to do more to recruit, train and encourage new leaders. If I’m reelected, I commit to spending more time showing members in Region 5 what I do as regional coordinator and why the work is rewarding. To truly benefit members, this should be more of a team effort than an individual one.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ? I’ve taken the lead in planning successful regional conferences in Chicago and Louisville, with diverse speakers and timely discussions and training. (Our 2020 regional conference in Indianapolis had to be postponed because of COVID-19, but we are already making plans for our next gathering, whether virtual or in person.)

As regional coordinator, I reorganized our finances, moving our funds to a national bank to facilitate transitions in regional leadership. I also started a Twitter account to publicize regional and national SPJ developments, and I attended the national board meetings via conference call to keep our chapter leaders updated.

I led the drafting of a regional statement supporting student journalists, after several student chapters in our region experienced problems with their schools limiting access to information. We followed up by bringing together student media leaders from these chapters for a discussion at the Louisville regional conference.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why? Members in our region are full of ideas for responding to the challenges and opportunities facing journalists today. My goal is to facilitate conversations and regional collaborations on these subjects, even if we don’t have the opportunity to meet in person for some time. Here are some of the subjects our members say they want to prioritize:

— Diversity and equity in newsrooms
— Ethical issues of covering protests and Black Lives Matter
— Impacts of COVID-19
— Changes and innovations in the practice of journalism
— Student/professional partnerships
— Shared resources on journalism jobs and networking
— Outreach to smaller and rural newsrooms

Collaboration is the future of journalism. It helps us stretch our resources further, surfaces new ideas and best practices, and supports hardworking journalists in covering their communities more effectively.

As SPJ develops its next strategic plan, this is an excellent time to reconsider the role of the regions. Does their structure make sense? Are they serving members well? If not, what would be more effective ways to serve individual members and local chapters? I look forward to your thoughts.

[Back to Top]

Region 7 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

No declared candidates yet.

[Back to Top]

Region 8 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

Kathryn Jones

Current SPJ Office: Region 8 Coordinator

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: I want to continue the work I began two years ago as Region 8 coordinator. This is a critical time for journalism, perhaps the most critical in history. I want to help professional journalists and student journalists get the tools, information, and support they need to weather these unprecedented times.

Previous SPJ Experience: Region 8 coordinator, served on the national membership committee; campus co-adviser, Tarleton State University; member, Fort Worth Pro Chapter; speaker at SPJ functions; vice president, campus chapter, Trinity University.

Work Experience: Co-director, Texas Center for Community Journalism (current); journalism instructor, Tarleton State University (current); contributing editor (current) and former writer-at-large, Texas Monthly magazine; writer under contract, New York Times; staff writer, Dallas Morning News; staff writer, Dallas Times Herald; Austin bureau reporter, Harte-Hanks Communications; staff writer, Corpus Christi Caller-Times; editor, Glen Rose Reporter.

Education: B.A., Journalism and English (double majors), Trinity University, San Antonio; Master of Liberal Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Honors, Awards and Activities: Fellow, Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism; named “Print Journalist of the Year” by Fort Worth Weekly; “Journalist of the Year,” West Texas Press Association (three times); first place, news writing, feature writing, headline writing, column writing, news photography by the Texas Press Association, West Texas Press Association, and North and East Texas Press Association; gold and silver awards, International and Regional Magazine Association; inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position? I’ve spent my entire career in Texas working for large and small news outlets, so I know the area and many of the people who work in journalism, either professionally or on campuses. I’m dedicated in helping our profession and also educating the public about the role of journalism in democracy.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ? I launched a Region 8 Facebook page and blog to better connect and inform members of our geographically large region. I worked with several chapters that were either restarting or launching. Our number of Region 8 chapters has grown in the past two years.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why? My first priority is to help chapters through this difficult period when many of them cannot meet or hold events in person. It’s important to keep our existing chapters going. My second priority is to contact universities that have journalism programs but do not have SPJ chapters and help them start chapters, and to contact advisers at universities where students have participated in the MOE awards and try to get them involved in SPJ. We need to mentor and encourage the next generation of journalists. Another priority is to create more online tools for our chapters, such as tutorials and webinars. I believe there will be lasting changes from this pandemic crisis. More activities will have to move online.

[Back to Top]

Region 9 Coordinator
Currently unopposed

Ed Otte

Current SPJ Office: Region 9 Coordinator

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office: To continue working with pro and campus chapters in the region and to serve as a liaison to the SPJ board and headquarters staff.

Previous SPJ Experience: Elected to SPJ Board of Directors in 2016. Elected regional coordinator in 2018. Served on Regional Fund Task Force. Attended Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in July 2016 in Denver. President of SPJ Colorado Pro chapter 2014-2016. SPJ member since 1989.

Work Experience: Retired in August 2010 after serving for 15 years as executive director of the Colorado Press Association. Previously worked at newspapers in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

Education: Adams State College (now University), Alamosa, CO

Honors, Awards and Activities: In 2004, the Colorado High School Press Association (now Colorado Student Media Association) gave me its Friend of Scholastic Journalism award "in appreciation of his work to improve journalism education." On Aug. 26, 2010, the governor signed a proclamation declaring the date Ed Otte Day in Colorado, citing his journalism accomplishments. In February 2011, received the CPA Friend of the First Award "in recognition of his commitment to a free press and the public's right to know." Adjunct journalism faculty at Colorado State University (1991-1995), served on journalism advisory boards at Metro State College-Denver (now University), University of Colorado-Boulder and Community College of Denver. Served as president of Colorado Associated Press Editors & Reporters in 1992 and on the CPA board of directors (1993-95).

Candidate Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for this position? After serving for four years as an RD/RC, I can provide continuity in working with Region 9 pro and college chapters on membership and programming, and with state chapters on regional conferences. I worked on the past two regional conferences in Colorado and was involved with regionals in New Mexico and Utah. Regardless of how future conferences and other activities are staged, that experience is valuable.

What is an example of a change you have made or helped make within SPJ? To assist Wyoming journalists in their efforts to reinstate their pro chapter I helped arrange SPJ sessions at Wyoming Press Association annual conventions in Casper and Cheyenne and two programs — one featuring the WPA media law attorney discussing recent changes to public meetings and records laws and the second a Facebook for Journalists training session — at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. The SPJ board reinstated the Wyoming chapter in 2019.

What will some of your priorities be if elected and why? Emphasizing ethical newsgathering and best journalistic practices remain top priorities — in normal times and during this pandemic. They are vital for campus chapter activities, pro chapter programs and public projects. Providing outreach to and support for pro and campus chapters so SPJ can remain reliable and relevant to its members and the public.

[Back to Top]


Call the Election Hotline, 317-920-4788, or send us an e-mail.

Copyright © 1996-2020 Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved.

Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn RSS


Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St., Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ