For Immediate Release:
Scott Leadingham, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (509) 859-2818, firstname.lastname@example.org
ATLANTA – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce the installation of its new president, Dave Aeikens of the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota.
On the final night of the 2008 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, Aeikens took the helm of the most broad-based journalism organization in the country. Aeikens spent the past year as president-elect and will serve as president for one year. He replaces Clint Brewer, editor of The City Paper in Nashville.
“I want to thank everyone at SPJ for trusting me with this position of leadership,” said Aeikens during his inaugural address. “It’s truly an honor.”
As an organization that fights for the interests of journalists, SPJ has made a concerted effort over the past year to advocate for the passage of the federal Free Flow of Information Act, which would protect journalists from legal action for not revealing their confidential sources. Aeikens committed to increasing SPJ’s efforts to make the law a reality.
“In Congress you know this legislation informally as the Shield Bill. We will make it the Shield Law,” he said.
Aeikens has worked as a journalist in Minnesota for nearly 18 years after graduating from the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Most of his professional career has been with the St. Cloud Times. While at the Times, he and a colleague wrote articles that showed some government agencies in Minnesota were charging more than state law allowed for paper copies of government data. They won numerous awards for the stories and the Legislature changed state law to limit what governments can charge to 25 cents a page. He is an aficionado of Minnesota open records laws and has one numerous Freedom of Information awards.
Along with his years as a reporter, Dave has taken many leadership posts in SPJ and other journalism organizations. Before becoming president-elect of SPJ in 2007, he served as national secretary-treasurer and committee chairman of SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund. He was the director of SPJ Region 6, which includes much of the upper Midwest, and president of the Minnesota Pro Chapter of SPJ. He was one of the founding organizers of the Midwest Journalism Conference, which jointly is the SPJ Region 6 conference combined with five other media organizations. Aeikens also chaired the Marquette Tribune Task Force in 2006, which issued a report on the events that led to the dismissal of the Marquette Tribune advisor.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.