About

We are the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a national organization that has been improving and protecting journalism since 1909. SPJ is known for its Code of Ethics, which was recently updated for the first time since 1996, to bring it in line with the needs of a rapidly changing industry. Please look at the code at spj.org. You will find that it is more than an ethical guide; it offers ways to better inform the public by using the web to enhance traditional media and improve our own transparency.

We are an active chapter, and offer many activities and resources, including our annual contest rewarding Excellence in Journalism, an online job bank; mentoring; assistance with the reporters’ shield law; and advocacy for the First Amendment, open public records and open public archives. If you have ideas for public programs and would like to join us to make them a reality, email our president, Miriam Ascarelli, at prez@njspj.org.

Here is a list of recent events:

  • December 2016: First Amendment advocacy on behalf of reporter Isaac Avilucea of The Trentonian and Charlie Kratovil of New Brunswick Today; mounted a vigorous campaign to oppose New Jersey bill that would have eliminated the requirement that legal ads run in newspapers.
  • October 2016: Arranged for discounts for NJ-SPJ members seeking to attend Sustain Local, a national conference organized by the Center for Cooperative Journalism at Montclair State.
  • August 2016: Started NJ Registry of Historic Places in Journalism
  • June 2016: NJTV chief political correspondent Michael Aaron hosted our annual Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony
  • April 2016: More than 100 students attended a “Meet the Press” event that we co-sponsored with the Public Relations Society of America at Rutgers University’s Piscataway’s campus.
  • Winter 2016: our annual Excellence in Journalism contest
  • February 2016: We collaborated with the New Jersey Press Association and the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State to present a free forum, “What’s New in NJ Media Law?” at Rutgers Law School in Newark.
  • November 2015: We organized a podcasting workshop at NJIT in Newark.
  • October 2015: Some 20 NJ SPJ members toured  NJTV, New Jersey’s public television station.
  • June 2015: NJTV anchor Mary Alice Williams hosted our annual Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony
  • April 2015: We combined our monthly meeting with a tour of WBGO-FM in Newark
  • Winter 2015: annual Excellence in Journalism Contest
  • February 2015: Courage Under Fire, a panel discussion about free speech at home and abroad. We focused on the coverage of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as well as the case of Andrew Flinchbaugh, a news photographer for the Lacey Reporter in Ocean County who was arrested (and later released) for refusing to turn over his camera to police. The event was held at the NJ Historical Society in Newark.
  • Nov. 2014: How the Public Got that Story: Why Some Stories Stick, and Some Don’t, a panel discussion at the Montclair Public Library with reporters from The New York Times, WNYC, The Record, The Star-Ledger, NJTV, Fox News and others. Some 100 people attended.
  • Oct. 2014: In Jersey City, Irish journalist Ed Moloney spoke on The Troubles in Northern Ireland as News and History. In New Brunswick, our members met with the busy SPJ student chapter at Rutgers.
  • July 2014: Our members got a private tour of the NJ Historical Society in Newark, hosted by Executive Director Steve Tettamanti.
  • June 2014: The best reporters in New Jersey, chosen by their peers, spoke at our annual Awards Dinner at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center at Montclair State University.
  • May 2014: Weekly newspapers and hyper-local websites were the focus, as editors, reporters and the public mixed at our forum.
  • April 2014: We co-sponsored the Rutgers-Newark conference on Media & Democratic Governance, with panels throughout the day.
  • Winter 2014: Many of you participated in our Excellence in Journalism awards competition, as both entrant and judges.
  • November 2013: We examined Who’s a Journalist Now? with speakers including author Jonathan Alter, State Senate Majority leader Loretta Weinberg and many others. 110-journalists and scholars attended.

NJ SPJ Officers

President: Miriam Ascarelli
Vice president: John Ensslin
Secretary: Emily Kratzer
Treasurer: Ron Miskoff
Assistant Treasurer: Elizabeth Oguss
Immediate Past President: Bob Schapiro
Members-at-large:   Guy Baehr, Robert Bugai, Frances Burns, Susan Keith, David Levitt, Maureen Nevin, Jane Primerano, Barbara Reed, Erin Roll

Questions or comments about the website? Contact Miriam Ascarelli: prez@njspj.org

Send an e-mail to NJ-SPJ President Miriam Ascarelli: prez@njspj.org

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