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Irwin Gratz installed as president of Society of Professional Journalists


Irwin L. Gratz, President, (207) 874-6570 or igratz@spj.org
Terrence G. Harper, Executive Director, (317) 927-8000, ext. 220 or tharper@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS– Irwin L. Gratz, Morning Edition Producer for Maine Public Radio, was installed Sept. 11 as president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest journalism organization, during the Society’s national convention in New York City.

More than 900 professional journalists, journalism students and educators attended the SPJ convention from Sept. 9-11 at the Grand Hyatt next to Grand Central Station.

Gratz is a native New Yorker and the first public broadcaster to head the organization. His career in radio news began in 1978 in Sanford, Maine. He worked for more than 10 years as a reporter, anchor, and News Director of WPOR Radio. After earning a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University, Gratz returned to southern Maine where, in 1992 he began his current job, local anchor of Morning Edition for Maine Public Radio

Gratz has been a member of SPJ since 1982. He was a charter member of the Maine Pro Chapter, served many years as its treasurer and president. In 1998, he was elected Regional Director, and in 2002, national Secretary-Treasurer, placing him on the ladder to become the Society’s President.

Gratz plans to travel extensively during his presidential term. He makes his first trip, to three Texas cities, later this month. “We are a very decentralized organization and I hope my visits will help knit it together a bit more.” Gratz also is looking for opportunities to speak with the public. “There’s a serious disconnect between the job we journalists believe we’re doing and the job the public thinks we’re doing. I think we need to be a little more transparent, as it says in our ethics code: be accountable.”

Gratz has won numerous awards through the years from the Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press Broadcasters for his newscasts and feature stories.

The Society’s other newly-elected officers include President-Elect David E. Carlson, Cox/Palm Beach Post Professor of New Media Journalism at the University of Florida; and Secretary-Treasurer Christine Tatum Thurstone, a business writer for The Denver Post.

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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