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SPJ leaders applaud chapter advocacy efforts

For Immediate Release:

Clint Brewer, President, (615) 301-9229

Beth King, Communications Manager, (317) 927-8000, ext. 211

INDIANAPOLIS –Leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest journalism advocacy organization, are pleased to recognize the Washington, D.C., and Maryland Professional chapters for their efforts to improve and protect journalism.

In October, leaders of the Washington, D.C., Professional chapter sent a letter to Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty that asked him to reconsider a plan to purge city e-mails considered to be public documents under the District’s open records law. Chapter leaders voiced their concerns, noting that the six month time limit for retaining e-mails was unreasonable when ensuring critical information is not destroyed. After intense pressure from SPJ, civic groups and government officials, Fenty withdrew his executive order on Tuesday.

On Monday, leaders from the Maryland Professional chapter spoke out against a plan by the state’s judiciary to uphold a policy banning cameras in the courtroom during criminal proceedings. Maryland is one of 16 states to uphold the ban. Citing a need for equality, Chapter President Bryan P. Sears told the Annapolis Capital Gazette that allowing cameras in the courtroom would place broadcasters on even ground with print reporters. The chapter also wrote a letter to the judiciary in support of open courtrooms.

“Thanks in part to the quick action of leaders with the Washington D.C. Professional Chapter, the District of Columbia avoided making a terrible decision,” SPJ National President Clint Brewer said. “In addition, the Maryland Pro Chapter’s proactive efforts are a real service to journalists throughout the region. Both chapters’ efforts show their commitment to free press advocacy and the power of the SPJ local chapter system.”

For more information about SPJ’s advocacy work, please visit SPJ's News page. To join your journalism peers in improving and protecting journalism, visit SPJ's Membership page.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists 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 further information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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