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Spotted Bear, Szekely appointed to SPJ Board of Directors for 2022-23


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12/12/2022


CONTACT:
Claire Regan, SPJ National President, cregan@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists Board of Directors has selected its two appointed members for 2022-23.

Jodi Rave Spotted Bear and Peter Szekely were appointed during Wednesday’s virtual board meeting.

Spotted Bear serves as executive director of the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance, a non-profit media organization that focuses on freedom of information and the need for more independent press operations across Indigenous America. The IMFA, based in Bismarck, North Dakota, publishes online news at buffalosfire.com. In June, Spotted Bear completed a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellowship at Stanford. She’s also a Nieman Fellow of Harvard University and a Bush Fellow for leadership.

Previously, Spotted Bear had a national news beat covering American Indian issues for Lee Enterprises, a job she led for more than a decade. Her writing has won awards including recognition from SPJ, Montana Newspaper Association, University of Nebraska, The Telly Awards, the Native American Journalists Association and the US Army for Military Print Journalist of the Year. Spotted Bear earned her journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her writing is featured in “The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity,” published by Columbia University Press.

Szekely is a retired journalist. He spent more than 40 years as a correspondent for Reuters reporting mostly from the Washington, D.C., bureau. He then went on to serve in full-time elected positions for The NewsGuild of New York as president and secretary-treasurer. He also spent 12 years as chair of the New York Guild Executive Committee and member of the Executive Council of its parent union, The NewsGuild-CWA in Washington. In 2017, Szekely returned to Reuters to join the national affairs staff in New York where he covered major U.S. news stories, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

His time in SPJ began as a student at Northeastern University where he served as the chapter’s treasurer and president and helped plan the 1977 regional conference in Boston. Szekely previously served as a two-term president of the Deadline Club, SPJ’s New York City chapter, and will be president again in 2023. He is also a member of the SPJ Bylaws Committee.

“These two outstanding journalists strengthen the board with their experience, passion and professionalism,” said Claire Regan, SPJ national president. “As accomplished leaders, they are committed to helping SPJ thrive, and we are grateful for their volunteer service.”

Spotted Bear and Szekely replace Israel Balderas, who is now SPJ secretary-treasurer, and Cheryl Smith as one-year appointees.

In addition, the Board has selected two regional coordinators to fill vacant positions in Regions 7 and 8. Loretta McGraw will serve as the 2022-23 Region 7 Coordinator for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. She is a recent graduate from Iowa State University and was a participant in SPJ’s Student Leadership Institute in 2021. Laura Garcia will serve as the 2022-23 Region 8 Coordinator for Texas and Oklahoma. She is the afternoon/evening news editor at the Texas Tribune and the president of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The new at-large directors and regional coordinators were sworn in during the meeting.

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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