Bylaws

PREAMBLE The New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists exists as a voluntary affiliate of the national organization‚ the Society of Professional Journalists‚ shares its goals‚ and adheres to its policies. Specifically‚ the chapter will promote and support the ethical practice of journalism. We aim to uphold the highest standards of the profession for fairness‚ accuracy and thoroughness. The chapter also was established to address the interests of those within the profession‚ and those seeking to enter it. We will promote professional development‚ the study and teaching of journalism‚ as well as research into issues and conditions in the field. Membership is open to any national SPJ member. Chapter services will reflect the member’s needs. We recognize that we also have an obligation to our communities. The role of a journalist includes the promotion of the rights of free speech‚ press and association for all‚ not simply those employed by the news media. As citizens and as members of the working press‚ we must preserve access to‚ employment in and ownership of the media by diverse people.

ARTICLE 1 The chapter shall be operated by a board of directors made up of four elected officers‚ six elected board members‚ and the immediate past president. The elected officer positions are: president‚ vice president‚ secretary and treasurer. The president shall serve as the chair of the board and preside over meetings and‚ unless the board decides otherwise‚ the immediate past president shall serve as vice-chair of the board and chair of the nominations and elections committee. The elected officers and board members shall be selected by the chapter membership in elections held in June. Terms for officers will be one year and will run from July 1 through June 30. Terms for board members will be two years‚ beginning July 1. The board‚ by majority vote‚ will have the power to fill any board positions that become vacant before the next scheduled election. Elections will conducted by mail and/or e-mail in such a way as to encourage maximum participation by all members of the chapter. Only those chapter members whose state and national dues are current as of the month before the election is held will be eligible to vote or be candidates. At least one eligible candidate for each position will be proposed by the nominations and elections committee‚ although‚ if the board determines there is a lack of sufficient candidates‚ it may authorize the consolidation of offices. Additional candidates for any position may be nominated by petition at least one month before the election. Candidates nominated by petition must have their petition signed by at least five members who are eligible to vote in the election. Elections shall be conducted by the nominations and elections committee under general rules adopted by the board to ensure fairness and efficiency. As part of the election process‚ the committee must provide all candidates with an equal chance to present biographical information and position statements to the membership‚ either by mail or via the chapter’s Web site. The board of directors‚ with advice from the chair of the nominations and elections committee‚ shall resolve by a majority vote any disputes that arise. A quorum of six is required to conduct a board meeting. Any board member who misses four consecutive meetings may be required by the board to step down.

ARTICLE 2 The president shall be empowered to appoint committee chairs or other positions necessary to fulfill the goals of the national organization or to meet the chapter’s needs. These include, but are not limited to‚ program, freedom of information‚ ethics‚ contest‚ membership and Web site/newsletter.

ARTICLE 3 The board shall advise the president‚ and assist the vice president in furthering SPJ goals‚ the treasurer in raising revenues and the secretary in communicating with members. The board also is empowered to review the performance of the elected officers. It is authorized to investigate complaints of misfeasance or malfeasance against the organization‚ officers or members‚ and recommend appropriate steps to the membership for a vote.

ARTICLE 4 The board‚ under the direction of the president‚ will be responsible for the chapter’s annual operations. All members may attend and speak at board meetings. The president will be responsible for the chapter’s programs‚ policies‚ community outreach and professional enhancement efforts. With the assistance of the secretary‚ the president will make regular reports to members and the board and will prepare the annual report. The vice president will assist the president‚ and perform the duties of that office upon the president’s absence or incapacity. At the president’s request‚ the vice president will chair the membership or the program committee. The secretary will be responsible for keeping records of meetings and events‚ and for issuing regular reports and notices to the full membership. The secretary also is responsible for outreach mailings regarding chapter activities‚ particularly the annual journalism awards contest. The treasurer will be responsible for keeping the chapter’s financial accounts and records. The treasurer will report to the president‚ and at board and membership meetings. The treasurer also will be responsible for long-range financial planning‚ such as the management of funds for regional conferences. A full summary of the chapter’s finances will be given at the beginning and end of each operating year.

ARTICLE 5 With the approval of the chapter board‚ the president and treasurer will establish annual membership dues. These must be related to actual operating expenses. As a non-exclusive‚ non-profit organization‚ the chapter pledges to keep fees to a reasonable level‚ to ensure that would-be members can afford to join.

ARTICLE 6 As feasible‚ the chapter will conduct an annual journalism awards contest to honor the best in our profession. The fees raised through this contest must be used for chapter activities. The president may appoint a contest chair and committee to oversee this process.

ARTICLE 7 The chapter will promote journalism education‚ through cooperation with high school‚ college‚ media organizations and community groups. The chapter will support the formation and continuation of college SPJ chapters‚ making financial contributions when feasible. As part of their duties‚ chapter officers will make themselves available to speak to schools‚ community or professional forums‚ about SPJ and journalism in general.

ARTICLE 8 In advocating high standards within the profession‚ and in discussing its workings with the public‚ the chapter is authorized to address any related issues. These may include‚ but are not limited to‚ accuracy in reporting‚ diversity in newsrooms‚ the impacts of advertising and workplace conditions.

However‚ officers and members should make it clear when they are expressing their own views‚ as opposed to espousing positions formally adopted by the chapter or its board. Any member in good standing is entitled to help formulate these positions.

ARTICLE 9 As a particular purpose‚ the chapter will promote public access to information. We will work to ensure that public records are indeed publicly available‚ and that private actions with impacts on the public are revealed. The chapter will monitor compliance with the New Jersey “Sunshine Law” and similar statutes‚ and will support freedom of information efforts in the nation and state. The president will designate officers or committee chairs to perform these tasks.

ARTICLE 10 The board of directors shall have the power to amend or replace these bylaws upon a two-thirds vote of directors voting at a meeting of the board at which at least a majority of directors in officer are present‚ provided that any amendments adopted by the board may be amended or repealed by referendum of the NJSPJ membership by their own initiative. No provision that has been amended‚ repealed or adopted by such referendum of the membership may be amended‚ repealed or adopted by a vote of the board of directors for a period of two years after the action of the membership.

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