President’s Message

John Ensslin, NJ SPJ president

Hi folks,

This will be my final message as president of the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The vagaries of a journalism career have taken me back to Denver, where I am now a reporter for Colorado Politics.

It has been an honor to serve as president of our chapter and I feel that I’m leaving it in the good hands of a capable and dedicated board of directors.

SPJ NJ Board election

Speaking of the board, it is time for our annual chapter election. We’ll be electing officers and two board positions in June.

Miriam Ascarelli has agreed to serve one final year as chapter president.

Board members Nick Hirshon will run for vice president and Melanie Anzidei will run for secretary.

Lew Wheaton, who did a great job this year as contest coordinator, has agreed to run for chapter treasurer.

He would replace Elizabeth Oguss, who served in that role for three years and leaves with our profound thanks.

Emily Kratzer is stepping down as secretary, but she has agreed to run for a seat on the board.

And I will continue to serve – albeit remotely – as past president.

Also continuing to serve are our board members elected last year to a two-year term. They are: Robert Bugai, David Levitt, Jane Primerano, Claire Regan and Bob Schapiro,

If you are a dues-paying member of our chapter, you are eligible to run for any of the open seats.

The board seat would be for a two-year term.

At minimum, it requires attending a two-hour monthly board meeting held at various locations throughout the state.

Board members and officers are also called upon to attend and assist with our major projects, such as the annual journalism awards program and our New Jersey Journalism Hall of Fame event.

If you are interested in running for a seat on the board, please contact Miriam, who will be serving as our elections chair.Miriam’s email:

Chapter members will receive an email ballot in early June. Please take a moment to fill out that ballot and send it back.

Saving The Targum

We were all dismayed to read recently that The Targum, the independent student newspaper for Rutgers University, is in financial trouble after failing to win enough support in a student referendum.

In response to this situation, our board has released the following statement:

“The New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists wishes to express its support for the student journalists of The Targum at Rutgers University.

“We are concerned that the recent student vote puts in jeopardy the future of the second-oldest student newspaper in the United States.

“Our chapter calls upon the University to do what it can to assure the paper’s continued viability.

“In an era when we have seen too many newspapers fall by the wayside, it would be a shame to silence a voice that has been essential to the Rutgers community since 1869.”

Besides this letter of support, the board approved spending up to $100 on an ad in The Targum expressing out support for the paper and its staff. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Excellence in Journalism awards program

We will be honoring the best in New Jersey journalism during our annual Signature Awards luncheon on Saturday, June 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Maize Restaurant in the lobby of the Robert Treat Hotel at 50 Park Place in Newark.

This year’s contest includes several new categories in our Signature Awards program, including the Gabe Pressman Award for Best News Video, the Herbert Morrison Award for Best Audio Story and the David Carr Award for Reporter of the Year.

Keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Walter Greason, a historian and professor at Monmouth University and president of the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation.

Cost of the luncheon is $30. To reserve your seat, click here.

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