Rebecca Baker installed as 2017-2018 SPJ President
Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, (203) 640-3904, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Gutierrez, Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, email@example.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Rebecca Baker became the 101st president of the Society of Professional Journalists during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2017 Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, California. She is the first SPJ national president from New York City in 35 years.
Baker is the deputy head of news at the New York Daily News in New York City. Previously, she was the deputy editor-in-chief of the New York Law Journal, the largest daily legal newspaper in the country.
“SPJ is in a unique place to help build the public’s trust in journalists,” Baker said.
Baker challenged each member of SPJ to hold a discussion with the public about journalism. Outreach has never been more important, she said.
“Our goal is to send SPJ members into at least 100 schools by this time next year,” Baker said, while announcing a Press for Education campaign. “If we can reach kids, we can reach the future consumers of our news.”
She takes the reigns from Lynn Walsh, investigative executive producer at NBC 7 San Diego, who served as SPJ president for the past year.
“It’s talking to non-journalists that’s been a favorite of mine throughout the year. We need to engage the public and talk to them,” Walsh said. “The threat against the First Amendment is very real. We need to continue to act and let the public know what these freedoms mean and what it would be like without them.”
Baker joined SPJ in 2000 and currently serves on SPJ’s finance committee, membership task force and the SDX Foundation Board of Directions, which supports the educational mission of SPJ. She previously served as president-elect. In addition, Baker was named outstanding member of 2010-2011 for her work as the president of The Deadline Club, SPJ’s New York City chapter.
Her work as a courts/crime reporter led to appearances on several cable network television shows, including "American Greed," "On the Case with Paula Zahn" and "Nancy Grace." She also was a regular guest on “Crime and Justice with Dan Schorr,” a New York-based radio program and podcast.
Baker graduated magna cum laude in journalism from Quinnipiac University in 2003, summa cum laude in communication from Carlow University (formerly known as Carlow College) in 1995 and was the valedictorian of the 1991 graduating class of Jeannette High School in Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
Coverage of the 2017 Excellence in Journalism conference is available from EIJ News. EIJ17 is a joint conference between SPJ, Radio Television Digital News Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.