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Paul Fletcher installed as 2015-16 SPJ President



Paul Fletcher, SPJ National President, 804-873-1893, pfletcher.spj@gmail.com
Maggie LaMar, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, mlamar@spj.org

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Society of Professional Journalists installed Paul Fletcher, publisher and editor-in-chief at Virginia Lawyers Weekly, as its 99th president Sunday, Sept. 20. Fletcher accepted office at the President’s Installation Banquet at Excellence in Journalism 2015 in Orlando, Fla., which is co-hosted with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association.

He graduated from Washington & Lee University law school in 1985. He also holds degrees from the College of William & Mary and Emory University. Fletcher practiced law for three years and has practiced journalism for 27.

He became an SPJ member in 1992. He has served on the ethics committee and was part of the group that revised the SPJ Code of Ethics in 2014. He served two years as president of the Virginia Pro chapter, which was named Small Chapter of the Year in 2013, his second year as president.

Fletcher says his knowledge of the history of SPJ will guide him through his presidency.

“It’s important to note all that before talking about the coming year. If you don’t understand where you’ve been, you won’t have much understanding of where you’re going.”

For his upcoming year as SPJ president, Fletcher wants to continue sharing the revised Code of Ethics, along with its supporting documents and translations with journalists and everyone interested in journalism ethics. Changes to the SPJ Code of Ethics were made and approved last year at Excellence in Journalism 2014 in Nashville, Tenn. Since then, supporting documents have been added to the Code of Ethics to enhance the understanding of the code, and it has been translated into nine languages.

“With this format, the committee can continue to provide explanation and interpretation as we help journalists to make good and ethical choices in their work and to educate the public about just what is good journalism,” Fletcher said.

He also wants to increase the effort made by SPJ to fix the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA will celebrate its 50th anniversary during his term. Fletcher said that “by continuing to fight for open government and fixing FOIA, we continue the work of those SDX leaders of the 1960s.”

“I choose to be an optimist about the future – both for SPJ and for journalism,” Fletcher said.

Complete coverage of the 2015 Excellence in Journalism conference is available from EIJ News.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit spj.org.


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