The First Amendment is under attack. Fight back with us. Visit fight.spj.org to find out how.

Member Login | Join SPJ | Benefits | Rates

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


Advertisement
— ADVERTISEMENT —
Advertise with SPJ
1

News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr


More SPJ News
Press Notes
Publications
SPJ Blogs
Quill
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
Press Notes
SPJ News
Open Doors
Geneva Conventions
Annual FOI Reports

Home > SPJ News > Resolutions passed at Excellence in Journalism 2017

SPJ News
Latest SPJ News | RSS


Resolutions passed at Excellence in Journalism 2017


9/15/2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 15, 2017

Contact:
Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, 203-640-3904, rebecca.baker.ny@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Each year, Society of Professional Journalists delegates vote on resolutions submitted by members on topics of importance to the society. These resolutions are voted on by delegates during the closing business session at the Excellence in Journalism annual conference.

Here are the resolutions that were approved during EIJ17 in Anaheim, Calif.:

Resolution No. 1
The Trump Administration and the Press
Submitted by Resolutions Committee
Delegate Action: Approved


WHEREAS the role of the news media in a democratic society requires journalists to question authority and hold the powerful accountable to the people;

WHEREAS journalists and media organizations routinely reported on actions of previous presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, that put them in unflattering lights and drew criticism of their administrations from editorial writers and opinion columnists;

WHEREAS President Donald J. Trump has described the news media as an “enemy of the people” and has said journalists “don’t like their country”;

WHEREAS the president and members of his administration persistently characterize members of the media as dishonest and crooked;

WHEREAS as recently as September 3, 2017, the president’s Environmental Protection Agency personally attacked the credibility of reporters for the Associated Press;

WHEREAS the president and several of his advisers use pejorative descriptions of journalists and news media to undermine the legitimacy of the press and its role in civil, democratic society;

WHEREAS demagogues throughout modern history have worked first to destroy the credibility of news media to enhance their power and execute their agendas;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists in convention in Anaheim, California on September 9, 2017, condemns in the harshest possible terms the corrosive actions and words of the Trump administration toward the news media and journalists;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society asks members of Congress and other public officials to remind the administration of the vital role the First Amendment and the press play in our system of government;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society encourages journalists not to rise to the social media bait distributed by President Trump and others who choose to mislead the public about the news media and to refrain from responding in kind.

Resolution No. 2
Calling on Journalists to
Oppose the Mandated Clearance Culture
Submitted by: FOI Committeemember Kathryn Foxhall
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS the Society of Professional Journalists has decried the harmful cultural norm of prohibiting public employees and private experts from communicating with reporters;

WHEREAS SPJ recognizes that public information officers play an important role and often provide critical assistance to journalists;
WHEREAS the Society recognizes the legitimate need for organizations to withhold certain information for legal or proprietary reasons;
WHEREAS, nevertheless, SPJ has clearly stated in previous resolutions its concerns regarding the harm done by restrictions on access, including mandates that reporters always go through PIOs;

WHEREAS SPJ has demonstrated its leadership on this form of censorship in letters to President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump signed by scores of journalism organizations and other groups, by meeting with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in 2015 and in a letter to the New York Times in 2016;

WHEREAS former SPJ president and Kennesaw State University professor Carolyn Carlson has conducted, with SPJ’s sponsorship, seven surveys over five years that show “Censorship by PIO” has become pervasive;

WHEREAS these surveys reveal both a lack of concern about the consequences of enforced silence and a chilling assumption by officials that this is appropriate;

WHEREAS these controls on public access threaten the free flow of information essential to a democratic society;

WHEREAS these restrictions on access pose a grave risk to the public welfare;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California, on September 9, 2017, calls on journalists to put the public’s need to know above the professional desire not to anger official sources.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that journalists should resist official efforts to make reporters nothing more than stenographers and openly oppose restrictions on access.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SPJ calls on all journalists, journalism groups, publishers, editors, journalism schools and freedom of information groups to start and continue discussions on eliminating these restrictions and to explain to the public the hazards to society posed by these restrictions.

Resolution No. 3
In praise of New Voices
Submitted by: Resolutions Committee
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS the Student Press Law Center has since 2015 created volunteer coalitions across the United States called New Voices to expand the free press guarantees of the First Amendment to student journalists and the student press at the high school and college level;

WHEREAS, as SPLC noted in its grant report to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, “the need for New Voices has grown more urgent after the heated anti-media rhetoric of the last national political campaign;

WHEREAS the New Voices effort yielded resounding success in 2017, resulting in freedom of the student press being guaranteed by law in Nevada, Vermont and Rhode Island;
WHEREAS North Dakota expanded the protections of its 2015 free student press law by enacting another law adding protection for student media advisers from retaliation;

WHEREAS the 2017 legislative action in these states followed similar laws in Illinois and Maryland and brought to 13 the number of states with statutes or education codes that protect student journalists’ right of free expression;

WHEREAS the American Bar Association House of Delegates unanimously endorsed support for the movement for prohibiting the censorship of student journalism;

WHEREAS these victories could not have been accomplished without the organizing and legal expertise of the Student Press Law Center and its grassroots volunteers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California on September 9, 2017, commends the work of the SPLC and its former executive director Frank LoMonte for their untiring efforts to undo the ill effects of the 1988 Hazelwood decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society endorses the continued efforts of the SPLC and its new executive director, Hadar Harris, to take the fight for student free expression to all 50 states.

Resolution No. 4
Commending journalists covering hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Submitted by: Resolutions committee
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS Hurricane Harvey has been a record-setting storm that caused catastrophic damage to the fourth-largest city in the United States;

WHEREAS Hurricane Irma promises to be another devastating storm to U.S. territories and states;

WHEREAS journalists based in Houston and Miami and from other outlets around the country leapt into action to cover the story;

WHEREAS the men and women of print, broadcast and online outlets stayed on the job in the face of some danger, as even their own offices, studios and homes flooded;

WHEREAS much work remains to be done, reporting on the aftermath of the storms and how affected cities and states will recover over the course of the coming days, weeks and years;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California, on September 9, 2017, commends the extraordinary journalists covering the impact of these dangerous storms for their fortitude, integrity and bravery in the performance of their duties.

Resolution No. 5
Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act
Submitted by Alex Veeneman, Ethics Committee member, blogger
Delegate Action: Approved


WHEREAS The Public Broadcasting Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 21, 1967;

WHEREAS Johnson said that the Act would help enrich the spirit of the United States;
WHEREAS The Act created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting;

WHEREAS the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been crucial in the development of public media;

WHEREAS federal funding for CPB is less than one-tenth of one percent of the United States’ federal budget, or $1.35 per citizen;

WHEREAS the people of public media, from member stations to organizations including PBS, NPR, Public Radio International, American Public Media and the Public Radio Exchange have made a positive contribution to the cultural and civic life of the United States;

WHEREAS public media has had a significant impact on the educational goals and prospects of American children;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California, on September 9, 2017, hereby recognizes the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society recognizes the dedication of all those who work in public media, including SPJ members employed by public media, and the valuable contributions public media have made to American life.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society believes continued federal funding for public broadcasting is necessary to the enhancement of the democratic and cultural well-being of the United States.

Resolution No. 6:
Thanking SPJ Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon
Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS during the past 14 years, Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon has offered
SPJ members and staff consistent encouragement, cooperation and reminders to “make good choices”;

WHEREAS Vachon has produced countless conventions that went off without a hitch (OK, so maybe one or two hitches but not many);

WHEREAS the SPJ community can always count on Vachon to provide the best dance moves at the EIJ dance every year;

WHEREAS she has helped build fantastic partnerships with other journalism organizations, such as the Google News Lab training that has been shared with journalists around the country;

WHEREAS Vachon has successfully organized and recruited trainers for Google tools programs, perhaps without a total understanding of what data viz even is;

WHEREAS Vachon has been a calming, mother hen presence at headquarters while still kicking butt;

WHEREAS Vachon has been the primary force behind the smashingly successful SPJ Day of Giving program, which raised oodles and oodles of dollars;

WHEREAS Vachon frequently watches her son’s college basketball games on whatever mobile device will pick up a signal;

WHEREAS Vachon has been a dedicated Society of Professional Journalists employee, always helpful to members and the board and she will be greatly missed;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists meeting in convention at Anaheim, California, on September 9, 2017, thank Chris Vachon for her dedicated service to the Society during her term as associate executive director of the nation's oldest and most broad-based journalism organization.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the journalists in attendance at EIJ17 stand to give Chris a rousing round of applause and a hearty hear, hear for a job well done.

Resolution No. 7:
Thanking SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel
Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS Executive Director Joe Skeel’s leadership since 2009 has led the Society to become more strategic and focused in its mission;

WHEREAS Executive Director Skeel has helped SPJ remain financially sound in a time when money for journalists and news organizations has been in flux;

WHEREAS Skeel has accomplished financial solvency by pursuing innovative ideas that have paid off;

WHEREAS Skeel has been a rock that the Society’s presidents, boards, members and staff can really lean on;

WHEREAS Skeel can provide thorough explanations to all board questions, whether they are about Robert's Rules of Order or the technical options about how the board has to proceed;

WHEREAS Skeel has shown exceptional vision;

WHEREAS Skeel has built a tremendous team at the Society’s headquarters;

WHEREAS he has shown the foresight to then stay out the team’s way;

WHEREAS Joe’s wife Becky has shown great patience with his never-ending project to finish their second story;

WHEREAS Joe has continued the tradition of the late Terry Harper as an unofficial ambassador for Maker’s Mark -- there might even (wink, wink) be a bottle in his office;

WHEREAS he has led the Society and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation to create a healthy financial reserve that will benefit the organizations for years to come;

WHEREAS he has performed wonderfully (and sweat-ily) in a gorilla suit for the sake of Day of Giving;

WHEREAS Joe’s professional conduct while representing SPJ and American journalists in North Korea in 2007, did not cause an international incident and likely prevented an SPJ officer from almost certain incarceration;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists meeting in convention September 9, 2017, in Anaheim, California, thank Joe Skeel for his dedicated service to the Society while acting as executive director of the nation's oldest and most broad-based journalism organization.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the journalists in attendance stand to give Joe a rousing round of applause and a hearty cheer for an excellent near-decade as SPJ’s executive director.

Resolution No.8:
Thanking SPJ staff
Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee
Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS the headquarters staff of the Society of Professional Journalists makes it possible for SPJ to provide strong professional development programs, defend the public’s right to know through First Amendment advocacy, and guide journalists to act ethically;

WHEREAS the staff created a superlative national journalism conference in collaboration with the Radio Television Digital News Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Native American Journalists Association while dealing with the impending loss of their managers and colleagues, Executive Director Joe Skeel and Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon;

WHEREAS the inspiring display of “talent, truth and energy” of Excellence in Journalism 2017 would not be possible without the SPJ staff’s deep knowledge, tireless energy, two-way radios, running shoes and Twitter #hashtags;

WHEREAS the SPJ staff continues to expand the technical capabilities of SPJ in exciting new ways;

WHEREAS the SPJ staff’s high level of professionalism, skill, ingenuity, nimbleness, and ability to keep the EIJ17 events running smoothly on very little sleep.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California, on September 9, 2017, thanks the SPJ staff for all its work and urges them to move quickly to prepare for EIJ18 in Baltimore, Maryland.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that journalists in attendance at EIJ17 give the SPJ staff a rousing round of applause and loud “thank you.”

Resolution No. 9:
Thanking SPJ President Lynn Walsh
Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee

Delegate action: Approved


WHEREAS during the past year, President Lynn Walsh represented the Society of Professional Journalists with professionalism, passion and outstanding poise;’

WHEREAS President Walsh joins the ranks of legendary broadcast journalists who have led the Society in its mission to protect and preserve the First Amendment;

WHEREAS President Walsh has endured many transcontinental airline flights in service to the Society;

WHEREAS President Walsh has acted as a leader who cherishes inclusiveness and acts on that value;

WHEREAS President Walsh has worked diligently and energetically with the Governance Task Force to bring about historic change in the way the Society governs itself;

WHEREAS her commitment to openness and collaboration made the internal workings of the SPJ Board more transparent;

WHEREAS her public advocacy has fostered greater recognition of SPJ’s role in safeguarding a free press and transparency in the government’s relationship with citizens;

WHEREAS President Walsh, who lives on Pacific Time, has nevertheless reacted to calls for help and advice no matter the hour;

WHEREAS under her leadership, EIJ17 has once again proven the value of cooperation among journalism organizations such as RTDNA, NAHJ and NAJA;

WHEREAS President Walsh has set a high bar for future national presidents through her inclusive and considerate management style;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists meeting in convention September 9, 2017, thank Lynn Walsh for her dedicated service to the Society during her term as president of the nation's oldest and most broad-based organization of journalists.

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.

-END-


Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus RSS Pinterest Pinterest
Flickr LinkedIn Tout


More SPJ News
Press Notes
Publications
SPJ Blogs
Quill
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
Press Notes
SPJ News
Open Doors
Geneva Conventions
Annual FOI Reports
 

Copyright © 1996-2017 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved.

Legal | Policies

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ