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SPJ delegates approve smaller board, changes to regional director positions


Lynn Walsh, SPJ National President, 614-579-7937, lynn.k.walsh@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Society of Professional Journalists voted to change the way SPJ governs itself, including shrinking its Board of Directors to nine positions and removing regional directors from the national board.

Voting delegates approved the changes during the closing business session at the Excellence in Journalism 2017 annual conference.

The national board recommended the bylaws changes, in an effort to attract qualified leaders without barriers such as geography, job title, etc. In addition, a smaller board will be more nimble.

“These changes will help SPJ better execute its mission and serve its members,” said SPJ National President Lynn Walsh. “A smaller board will be best suited to produce shared short- and long-term strategies for SPJ’s vitality and viability into the future. This is just a first step toward those goals, but it is an important one.”

The vote comes after a year of self-examination by the current Board of Directors and a Governance Task Force that was charged with studying the issue.

With the approved bylaws changes, SPJ will be governed by a board of nine members, down from 23, to include:
• Three officers, including a president, president-elect and secretary-treasurer, each to be elected for one year.
• Four at-large directors, each to be elected for two years with staggered terms.
• Two appointed directors, each to be selected by the board to serve one-year terms, to provide specific expertise.

Regional directors, meanwhile, would continue to serve in the same capacity, but as non-board members to be known as regional coordinators.

Under this new structure, the SPJ board will continue to implement long-standing board responsibilities, as laid out in existing bylaws. Additionally, it will:
• Draft and enact a strategic plan for three to five years, setting annual goals to ensure that work toward planned priorities remain on track.
• Adopt a new organizational chart to ensure fruitful communication between board members and SPJ’s many constituencies, including chapters and communities.

The task force invited members to provide feedback and ask questions in various ways in the weeks and months leading up to the vote at EIJ17. It also created an online Frequently Asked Questions about the proposals.

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