At its regular meeting on August 27, 2017, the board of the SPJ Valley of the Sun Pro chapter in Phoenix reviewed and discussed the proposed changes to the national SPJ bylaws. They then voted unanimously to instruct its delegates to the upcoming convention in Anaheim to vote to approve those proposed changes. If approved by delegates, these amendments would reduce the size of the national board and restructure regional representation.
Our board’s decision comes after much consideration and dialogue. We’ve engaged in group and one-on-one discussions with national leaders, local members, and our Regional Director. Those conversations included online web-based conferences offered by SPJ – as recently as Tuesday, August 29 – in which leading SPJ proponents answered questions and addressed concerns.
Members may disagree about elements of strategy, but the goals of the bylaws changes are admirable ones. An oversized board of 23 people is unable to execute and implement important steps effectively. Reducing the board to 9 individuals makes much sense. Deliberation and dialogue have also addressed our concerns that regional needs may be undervalued on a board where Regional Directors no longer sit. We are confident that this change will protect SPJ’s commitment to journalists throughout the country while improving the board’s ability to act efficiently and effectively.
In an age when the creation and dissemination of journalism are changing at a rapid pace, these proposed bylaws changes are a worthwhile attempt to streamline operations and ensure SPJ’s voice is being heard in a coherent and timely manner. As SPJ leaders have said, this is an experiment – but it is a well-considered and commendable one.
We urge all delegates to the convention who have not already done so to visit https://www.spj.org/governance.asp to read the proposed amendments and important supplemental information found there to make a fully informed decision on supporting them at the convention.
President, SPJ Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter