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McKerral Takes Reins of National Journalism Organization


Mac McKerral, SPJ President, (813) 873-8225 or

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gordon D. “Mac” McKerral, editor of The Business Journal Serving Greater Tampa Bay, was installed Sept. 13 as the president of the nation’s largest journalism organization during the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists in Tampa, Fla.

More than 600 professional journalists, journalism students and educators attended the SPJ convention from Sept. 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Tampa.

McKerral has served 12 years in a variety of positions on the SPJ board, including vice president of campus chapter affairs, secretary-treasurer and most recently as president-elect.

The nearly 10,000-member organization works to improve and protect journalism by encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. SPJ was founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi and is based in Indianapolis.

“We are a volunteer organization and all members give a lot of their time and energy for a good thing -- ensuring the public’s right to know and making sure people understand that a free media remains the cornerstone of democracy,” said McKerral.

“Every day -- despite what you might hear -- good journalists provide valuable information to readers, viewers and listeners. People who believe that we are better off and safer knowing less about our government and the world around us are offering the worse kind of advice. History shows us over and over again that it’s not true.”

McKerral is the first editor of a weekly business publication to serve as president. He joined The Business Journal as managing editor in December 1999 and became editor in February 2000. He served as managing editor of the Panama City News Herald, a daily serving the Florida Panhandle from July 1998 until December 1999.

From 1988-1998, McKerral served as an associate professor on the faculty of the Hall School of Journalism at Troy State University in Troy, Ala. He taught reporting, editing, newsroom management and mass communication law.
While at Troy State, McKerral received the university’s highest honor, the Ingalls Award for Classroom Teaching Excellence. He also received the Society of Professional Journalists’ National First Amendment Award for his work with the Campus Courts Task Force, which focused on gaining public access to campus crime records and campus judiciary records related to hearings on crimes.

In May 2003, the Florida Press Association honored McKerral with the Jon A. Roosenraad Award for writing in defense of the First Amendment. He also received the award in 2002.

McKerral has worked at daily newspapers as a feature writer in Illinois, a government and political writer in Panama City, a city editor in upstate New York and started a weekly newspaper in suburban Indianapolis in 1986, where he served as editor and general manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/history from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. McKerral graduated from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill., in 1970.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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