NJ SPJ plans for the coming year

John Ensslin, chapter president

Hello NJ SPJ members,

 A budget plan, a by-laws overhaul, a possible two-state journalism contest and talk of a Journalism Hall of Fame emerged from a very productive retreat by the board of the Society of Professional Journalists New Jersey chapter on July 16.
We met for just over four hours at the home of Russ and Susan DeSantis to craft an overall plan for the year ahead.
Here are some highlights:
  • Board members discussed creating a budget that would pursue an austerity plan while trying to build up a reserve for next year.We anticipate a good year financially – particularly because we’ll be co-hosting the Regional Conference this spring in Philadelphia.However, such opportunities only come along every four years, so building up a reserve this year will help create some stability next year.
  •  We decided to attempt a top to bottom rewrite of our bylaws. I’ve appointed a committee chaired by NJ SPJ board secretary Emily Kratzer to come up with specific recommendations. This will likely be a slow process that may take up most of the year, so stay tuned. 
A two state contest?
  • The board also explored a possible merger of our journalism contest with that of the Keystone chapter in Pennsylvania. We’re only in the most preliminary discussions and there’s no done deal.However our contest this year experienced a sharp decline in the number of entries. A possible merger with Keystone, which has a similar-sized contest, could help create a more competitive field.We’ll spend the rest of this summer working on the details. No matter what happens, we will continue with our signature honors – the O’Brien, Barto, Awbrey and Courage Under Fire awards.
So again, stay tuned.
New Jersey Journalism Hall of Fame
Our chapter is planning to do the first ever New Jersey Journalism Hall of Fame.
We’ll be turning to our chapter’s former presidents to help us develop a list of potential candidates.
But you can help too. If there is someone you would like to nominate for this honor, send your recommendations along to me. My email: johnensslin@gmail.com.
With the exception of the bylaws overhaul, I expect all three of these matters may come up for further discussion at our Aug. 26 meeting, which will take place at the Doric House Museum in downtown Flemington. See details below.
The 11 a.m. meeting will be followed by a walking tour of the Union Hotel property, which recently won designation as one of SPJ national’s historic sites in journalism and the first in New Jersey.
Let me know if you’d like to take part in the tour.
Board member sought
We currently have a vacancy on our board. If you would like to be considered for the post, please let me know.
Bear in mind, board membership requires attending our monthly meeting and helping with one aspect of our overall chapter programs.
Please consider volunteering. The board is an excellent opportunity to make your mark on New Jersey journalism.
Aug. 26 meeting in Flemington, with walking tour
At some point later this year, we’ll have a formal ceremony with the unveiling of the SPJ Historic Sites in Journalism plaque.

But in the meanwhile, if you’d like to see what prompted this honor, join us in Flemington for a walking tour on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The SPJ New Jersey board will hold its regular monthly meeting at 11 a.m. that day in the historic Doric House Museum at 114 Main St., Flemington, next door to the Hunterdon County Historical Society Library.
Afterwards, a local historian will lead us on a walking tour of downtown and the Union Hotel site, which was recently added to the SPJ register of historic places in journalism. You can read more about the hotel on this website of the Friends of Historic Flemington. Then we’ll grab lunch at a local restaurant.
If you would like to come along for the meeting and/or the tour, let me know. I can be reached at johnensslin@gmail.com.
Til then,
John Ensslin
New Jersey SPJ

1 Comment on "NJ SPJ plans for the coming year"

  1. The two state solution strikes me as a very positive alternative to no contest at all. Ths would inspire me to become a member again, and to volunteer to serve as judge for future contests.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.