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SPJ elects 2023-24 Board of Directors and Regional Coordinators


Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President, ashanti.blaize@gmail.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists swore in its 107th president Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins and its membership has elected the 2023-24 Board of Directors and Regional Coordinators.

Most election winners were sworn in at the SPJ23 Journalism Convention Closing Business Meeting by 2022-23 National President Claire Regan. She also swore in Blaize-Hopkins, who is the first Black woman to become SPJ president. Blaize-Hopkins is a journalism professor at Santa Monica College and became vice president of SPJ in 2022.

Blaize-Hopkins selected two appointees to join the SPJ Board of Directors as at-large directors serving for one year. They were sworn in at the SPJ Board meeting on Sunday by Blaize-Hopkins, along with the other winners who were not at SPJ23.

Additions to SPJ’s 2023-24 Board of Directors:
— Vice President: Emily Bloch
is a multimedia journalist specializing in youth and internet culture. She covers national trending news for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bloch served as an at-large director, SPJ Florida past president, Executive Director Search Committee member and community coordinator. She is the 2020 SPJ Howard Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award recipient.
— Secretary-Treasurer: Daniela Ibarra is a journalist at KSAT-TV in San Antonio. She has served as an SPJ at-large director, Diversity & Inclusion Committee vice-chair, 2022 Student Leadership Institute coach and a member of the SPJ Multimedia Journalists Safety Task Force, Code of Conduct Committee and 2022 Convention Planning Committee.
— At-Large Director (two-year term): Chris R. Vaccaro is a media executive, professor and author from Long Island, currently working in an executive role with a sports media company and as the director of graduate journalism and adjunct assistant professor at Hofstra University. He has served as the SPJ Region 1 coordinator, Regional Coordinator Caucus chair and board member and past president of the Press Club of Long Island.
— At-Large Director (two-year term): Wesley Wright is a college journalism adviser at Florida Atlantic University. He is the executive vice president of the SPJ Florida and runs a project partly funded by SPJ called the ReNews Project, which seeks to revive student media organizations at Historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions nationwide.
— At-Large Director (president’s appointee): Carolyn Burt is an audience engagement producer at Southern California News Group. She served on the 2023 Convention Planning Committee and was an SPJ student reporter at MediaFest22.
— At-Large Director (president’s appointee): Reginald Hardwick is the news/public affairs director at Illinois Public Media, the NPR and PBS member stations based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has won seven regional Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

New Regional Coordinators:
— Region 2: Stephenie Overman
is a long-time freelance journalist who specializes in covering labor and workplace issues. She previously held this position.
— Region 3: Michael Koretzky is the editor of Debt.com. He previously held this position.
— Region 6: Joe Radske teaches at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University - Moorhead. He previously held this position.
— Region 7: Loretta McGraw is an English as a second or foreign language educator, freelance journalist, producer and music promoter in the Des Moines Metropolitan area. She previously held this position.
— Region 8: Laura Garcia is the afternoon/evening news editor at The Texas Tribune. She previously held this position.
— Region 10: Donald W. Meyers is a multimedia journalist at the Yakima Herald-Republic covering crime and courts. He previously held this position.
— Region 11: Ankita M. Kumar is journalist, content strategist and product manager currently working for Ovis.
— Region 12: Jennifer Ellis is the creative services managing editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She previously held this position.

Regional Coordinators serve staggered two-year terms, with only some being up for re-election each year.

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 SPJ Foundation.


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