Member Login | Join SPJ | Benefits | Rates

> Latest News, Blogs and Events (tap to expand)


Advertisement
— ADVERTISEMENT —
Advertise with SPJ
1

SPJ Leads


News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr


About SPJ
Mission
Membership
General Info
Headquarters Staff
Board of Directors
Committees
Bylaws | PDF version
Documentation
History
Chester C. Wells: His Story
Merchandise


Sigma Delta
Chi Foundation

Home
Board of Directors
Donors Circle
Give Monthly
Planned Giving
Memorial and Tribute Gifts
Signature Programs
Grants Information
Documentation

Your Donation Matters!
The work of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation depends on time, talent and financial support from journalists and others who support these goals. Our online giving process will only take a few moments. Please visit our donation page to support SPJ and the SDX Foundation.

Staff contact
Associate Executive Director
Chris Vachon
317/927-8000,
ext. 207
E-mail

Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Resolutions

Documentation
Resolutions

Submitted to the Excellence in Journalism Conference in Nashville, Tenn., for passage on September 6, 2014

1. Thanking SPJ President Dave Cuillier
2. Thanking SPJ staff
3. Honoring the late Raymond Boone
4. Honoring Lee Thornton
5. Honoring John Seigenthaler
6. On Public Information Office Media Control
7. Renaming SPJ the “Society for Professional Journalism”
8. Commemorating the murder of journalists
9. High school journalism
10. On Police Harassment of Journalists
11. Passage of a Federal Shield Law
12. Urging Journalists to Alert Public to President Obama’s Unfulfilled Transparency Promise
13. Respect and Support for the First Amendment Rights of the Student Journalist


Resolution No. 1: Thanking SPJ President Dave Cuillier

Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS, during the past year, President Dave Cuillier elevated the Society of Professional Journalists’ presence on the national stage regarding key issues of great importance to our democracy, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he called out “brazen” federal agencies that have “learned how to game the system” and thereby weakened the federal Freedom of Information Act, and;

WHEREAS behind President Cuillier’s laid-back, surfer-boy demeanor lies an intelligent, passionate leader who will fight for what he believes in and who speaks out against government subterfuge, obfuscation and obstruction, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier correctly greeted the U.S. Justice Department’s new rules for obtaining information from journalists with skepticism, and;

WHEREAS this high-visibility advocacy further reinforced SPJ’s key role in safeguarding a free press and transparency in the government’s relationship with citizens, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier has shepherded a new vision for the future of SPJ that heightens its role as a national First Amendment advocate, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier has presided over the first rewrite of the Society’s Code of Ethics in nearly 20 years, and;

WHEREAS, under President Cuillier’s leadership, the 2014 Excellence in Journalism national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, offered journalists from throughout the country an outstanding buffet of training, education and inspiration, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier maintained his coolness quotient by balancing his leadership of the University of Arizona School of Journalism with his leadership of SPJ, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier further enhanced his coolness quotient by not only supporting Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky’s Interview with a Zombie program in October 2013, but by actually appearing as a zombie, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier did all this without having to drive in a rented car across 14,135 miles in 32 states, and;

WHEREAS President Cuillier’s familiarity with javenlinas, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters and other cuddly creatures of the Sonoran Desert informs the tenacity and tact with which he advocates for First Amendment freedoms, and;

WHEREAS, as SPJ president, Dave Cuillier has set a high bar for future national presidents;

THEREFORE be it resolved that the SPJ convention of delegates thanks Dave Cuillier for his dedicated service to the Society during his term as president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 2: Thanking SPJ staff

Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS, the headquarters staff of the Society of Professional Journalists makes it possible for SPJ to provide strong professional development programs, defend the public’s right to know through First Amendment advocacy, and guide journalists to act ethically, and;

WHEREAS, the staff has created yet another superlative national journalism conference in collaboration with the Radio Television Digital News Association, and;

WHEREAS, the stupendous display of “talent, truth and energy” of Excellence In Journalism 14 would not be possible without the SPJ staff’s deep knowledge, tireless energy, two-way radios, running shoes and Twitter #hashtags, and;

WHEREAS, the SPJ staff has done and continues to do its good work despite the SPJ board of directors and a motley confederation of past presidents who think they know everything, and;

WHEREAS, the SPJ staff’s high level of professionalism, skill, ingenuity, nimbleness, and ability to keep the EIJ14 train running smoothly on very little sleep;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society’s convention of delegates thanks the SPJ staff for all its work and gives the staff a hearty “Let’s have another!” for its work on Excellence in Journalism 14 in Nashville, Tenn.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED , that the staff is requested to get more rest by sending fewer email messages leading up to Exellence in Journalism 15 in Orlando, Fla.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 3: Honoring the late Raymond Boone

Submitted by: Reginald Stuart, former SPJ president

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS Raymond Boone spent more than 50 years in journalism, first as a reporter for several rural newspapers in Virginia, then as editor for more than a decade of the Richmond Afro-American, and;

WHEREAS, after more than a decade with the Afro-American, Raymond Boone went to Washington to teach journalism for several years, then returned to Richmond as founder, editor and publisher of The Richmond Free Press, and;

WHEREAS Raymond Boone was a champion of civil rights and affirmative action and worked relentlessly to promote diversity in the news media as well as society in general, and;

WHEREAS Raymond Boone died June 3, 2014, at the age of 76,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention at Nashville, Tennessee, does mourn the death of Ray Boone and urge young people of all races to follow his journalistic example.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 4: Honoring Lee Thornton

Submitted by: Reginald Stuart, former SPJ president

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS Lee Thornton was born November 14, 1941, in Leesburg, Virginia, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton went to work for CBS News in 1974, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton became, in 1977, the first black woman to cover the White House regularly for the network, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton also worked for National Public Radio as a host, reporter and producer beginning in 1982, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton began teaching journalism at Howard University in the 1980s and joined the faculty at the University of Maryland in 1997, and;

WHEREAS Doctor Thornton rose to be interim dean of the journalism school at Maryland in 2008-2009 and, later, Interim Associate Provost for Equity, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton retired in 2011, but returned to work at the University of Maryland graduate school’s ombudsman’s office and, also, endowed a graduate fellowship at Maryland, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton was a past president of the Washington, D.C., Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton was a board member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of Washington for more than 20 years, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton mentored and taught dozens of people who are now active participants in our field and cite her as an inspiration and role model, and;

WHEREAS Lee Thornton died September 25, 2013 at the age of 71,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention at Nashville, Tennessee, does hereby mourn the death of Lee Thornton and give thanks for her work in academia, broadcast journalism, and on behalf of the Society.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 5: Honoring John Seigenthaler

Submitted by: Reginald Stuart, former SPJ president

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler was born July 27, 1927, in Nashville, Tennessee, as the oldest of eight siblings, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler joined his hometown newspaper, the Tennessean, as a reporter in 1949, and;

WHEREASE John Seigenthaler mixed fearless journalism with compassion for human subjects — pulling one suicidal man to safety off a bridge in 1954 and being injured while trying to protect civil rights workers from an attacking mob in 1961 when he was serving as special assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and;

WHEREAS, as editor of the Tennesseean, John Sigenthaler spearheaded coverage of the civil rights movement, despite its unpopularity in the South, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler was also a founding editor of USA Today and its Editorial Director for nine years, while continuing to serve as editor and publisher of the Tennesseean, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler was a president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, a founder of the First Amendment Center, a member of the Constitution Project on Liberty and Security created after the Sept. 11 tragedies in New York and Washington, and a generous supporter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler was made a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1984 and won a First Amendment Award from the Society in 2007, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler was mentor, coach, and sponsor of Society presidents: Frank Sutherland, Frank Gibson, Reginald Stuart and Paul McMasters, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler gave of his time generously to appear at Society events and inspire younger generations of journalists, and;

WHEREAS John Seigenthaler died July 11, 2014, at the age of 86,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, in Convention at Nashville, Tennessee, does hereby mourn the death of John Seigenthaler and urge that he be remembered as an exemplar of principled, ethical journalism for generations to come.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 6: On Public Information Office Media Control

Submitted by: SPJ Freedom of Information Committee

Resolutions Committee recommendation: No recommendation

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS more than 40 journalism and open-government groups have called upon President Obama to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public, and;

WHEREAS the letter to Obama was crafted by David Cuillier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, with help from SPJ member Kathryn Foxhall, and;

WHEREAS the letter urged changes to policies that constrict the flow of information to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources, and;

WHEREAS the letter relied on details obtained from surveys conducted by Carolyn Carlson on behalf of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee that found specific examples of the excessive information control, considered by some as a form of censorship, and;

WHEREAS these examples included officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people, intentional and excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines, officials conveying information “on background,” refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking, and federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them, and;

WHEREAS we acknowledge the important function that public information officers serve in disseminating information to the public, but object to overzealous efforts at media control, and;

WHEREAS the letter suggested that the White House create an ombudsman to monitor and enforce President Obama’s stated goal of restoring transparency to government and giving the public the unvarnished truth about its workings, and;

WHEREAS he has not taken such action,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Nashville, Tennessee urge President Obama to create the ombudsman position as requested;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society urges journalists to fight media control trends in public and private entities at the national, state and local levels, and that news outlets resist these trends by publishing editorials, explaining the tactics of public information offices in news stories and openly resisting them whenever they occur.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 7: Renaming SPJ the “Society for Professional Journalism”

Submitted by: Michael Koretzky, Region 3 director

Resolutions Committee recommendation: No recommendation

Delegate action: Failed

WHEREAS, other organizations include supporters of whatever niche they fill, as shown by the National Organization for Women allowing men to join and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People having a racially diverse membership, and;

WHEREAS, the Society’s name doesn’t accurately reflect its current membership because many members and even many SPJ board members are not professional journalists, and;

WHEREAS, a name that invites membership from a larger community of supporters would give SPJ more lobbying power with lawmakers not currently predisposed to a free press, and;

WHEREAS, the name "Society of Professional Journalists" suggests that there is or should be a group representing unprofessional journalists, and;

THEREFORE be it resolved that SPJ rename itself the Society for Professional Journalism starting as soon as the articles, bylaws, policies and guidelines permit.

And THEREFORE be it resolved that this action be contingent upon approval of SPJ membership in a straw vote.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 8: Commemorating the murder of journalists

Submitted by: SPJ Resolutions Committee

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS freelance journalist James Foley was kidnapped and released in Libya in 2011, but then returned to the Middle East to cover the civil war in Syria because he “had to be there,” and;

WHEREAS James Foley, 40, made it his mission to put himself in war zones to connect with the people touched by the brutality of war, and;

WHEREAS James Foley had an insatiable curiosity that drove him again and again to make his way to the riskiest regions in the world, and;

WHEREAS photojournalist Steven Sotloff traveled to the world's war zones in pursuit of stories about people surviving the ravages of such conflicts, and;

WHEREAS Steven Sotloff's family and friends describe him as "good-natured, curious and thoughtful,” and;

WHEREAS Steven Sotloff's journalism chronicled a doctor in Syria who helped children cope with the physiological damages wrought by war, and;

WHEREAS Steven Sotloff, 31, shed light on the good deeds committed by noncombatants placed in the center of such conflicts, and;

WHEREAS James Foley was kidnapped while working in Syria in November of 2012 and brutally killed by his captors, who posted the video of his killing online in August 2014, and;

WHEREAS Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013, was also executed by his captors, who released a video of his killing in September 2014, and;

WHEREAS the Committee to Protect Journalists reports 34 journalists have been killed around the world this year, following the killing of 70 journalists in 2013, and;

WHEREAS, such violence against journalists can have a chilling effect on reporting vital to the understanding of the world’s conflicts and the people they affect,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention in Nashville, Tennessee, does decry the abduction and killing of journalists and urges national authorities to pursue justice for the victims and against the killers of journalists.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 9: High school journalism

Submitted by: Rebecca Tallent, J-Ed Committee

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS the Society of Professional Journalists' Education Committee has studied the state of high school journalism in America for the past three years, and;

WHEREAS the Journalism Education Committee discovered that high school journalism is alive but struggling from a lack of visibility and student interest, and;

WHEREAS high school journalism teaches the core curriculum components of critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication — skills necessary for any profession, and;

WHEREAS most colleges and universities have eliminated courses on how to teach high school journalism, leaving most high school teachers to find summer workshops or other means (if any) for training, and;

WHEREAS one-fourth of high school journalism teachers have no training, and;

WHEREAS more than 50 percent of high school teachers responding to the J-Ed Committee's study reported that they had no support from local professional journalists and 56.1 percent stated that they receive no support from local colleges and universities,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Nashville, Tennessee, strongly encourages local professionals and college SPJ chapters to reach out to local high school journalism programs to provide encouragement to students and teachers, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SPJ work with the Journalism Education Association and the Student Press Law Center to develop training programs for high school journalism teachers and encourage colleges and universities to reinstate classes directed toward teaching secondary education majors about teaching journalism, including the basics of news writing and legal issues of concern to high school programs.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 10: On Police Harassment of Journalists

Submitted by: Neil Ralston, SPJ member

Resolutions Committee recommendation: No recommendation

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS the Society of Professional Journalists joined other journalism organizations in expressing outrage over the harassment and detention of journalists by the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department during civil unrest in that community in August 2014, and;

WHEREAS SPJ President Dave Cuillier said in a statement about said police treatment of journalists that: “When law enforcement, military or government agencies prevent journalists from doing their jobs, through force, intimidation or other unwarranted, unethical practices, it creates a slippery slope in which democracy is compromised,” and;

WHEREAS the Society of Professional Journalists supports the legal principle that photography, videography and personal observation from public thoroughfares and property is guaranteed under the First Amendment, and;

WHEREAS the Society further supports the efforts of the National Press Photographers Association, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to protect journalists from illegal restrictions against journalists’ right to do their jobs and educate law enforcement and government agencies about citizens’ rights to record and photograph their activities, and;

WHEREAS SPJ believes that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Nashville, Tenn., urges law enforcement and government officials throughout the United States to use restraint and seek training on respecting the rights of journalists and citizen observers in public situations such as arrests and civil unrest.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 11: Passage of a Federal Shield Law

Submitted by: Irwin Gratz of the Resolutions Commitee

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS the First Amendment’s promise of an independent news media cannot be fulfilled unless journalists can protect the confidentiality of news sources, and;

WHEREAS in 2005, the Society of Professional Journalists went on record supporting the passage of a federal shield law, titled “The Free Flow of Information Act,” and;

WHEREAS earlier versions of “The Free Flow of Information Act” received the support of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007 and 2009, and gained the approval of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007, and;

WHEREAS the current version, the Free Flow of Information Act 2013, continues to await action in the Senate,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED , that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention in Nashville, Tennessee, urges speedy passage of legislation creating a federal shield law by the Senate and the House and that the president of the United States sign it into law, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to members of the United States Senate.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 12: Urging Journalists to Alert Public to President Obama’s Unfulfilled Transparency Promise

Submitted by: SPJ member Bruce Baskett

Resolutions Committee recommendation: No recommendation

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS A cornerstone in the building and maintaining of any civil society is public access to information about the processes, actions, and outcomes of the persons and institutions in power, and;

WHEREAS Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy, and;

WHEREAS It is the expressed duty to the public of journalists everywhere to discover, to gather, and to truthfully and accurately report and interpret information, and;

WHEREAS President Obama has stated on numerous occasions that he is committed to creating an unprecedented, higher level of openness in government, and;

WHEREAS An ever increasing and dangerous level of politically driven suppression of information has been experienced by journalists in the last two decades, and;

WHEREAS This suppression of information is felt by journalists working with all levels of government, and;

WHEREAS Suppression of information renders it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for journalists to accurately discover, report and interpret information for the public,

BE IT RESOLVED That the Society of Professional Journalists urge President Obama to put actions to his words and use the powers of his office to reverse this dangerous trend, and;

BE IT RESOLVED That the Society of Professional Journalists urge President Obama, himself, to become a more active partner with journalists, to assure that the free and accurate flow of information is enhanced by more personal engagements with journalists, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the members of the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Nashville, Tennessee, urge journalists everywhere to explain and clarify to the public the dangerous trends of the last two decades that affect the important flow of information.

[ Back to Top ]


Resolution No. 13: Respect and Support for the First Amendment Rights of the Student Journalist

Submitted by: Reginald Stuart, former SPJ president

Resolutions Committee recommendation: Favorable

Delegate action: Approved

WHEREAS Shae Savoy, an adviser to the Central Circuit, a student-run magazine at Seattle Central College, was removed from her position two years after being hired and helping students switch the magazine’s emphasis from feature reporting to hard news, and;

WHEREAS copies of an independent student publication at Cedarville University in Ohio were confiscated by the school’s president and another administrator, and;

WHEREAS Central New Mexico Community College placed language in faculty contracts that bars faculty from discussing union affairs with reporters from the student-run media, and;

WHEREASE the Student Press Law Center has documented other similar cases over the last year, and;

WHEREAS the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the freedom of the press, and;

WHEREASE those protections do apply to students attending colleges and universities, and;

WHEREAS such freedoms enable student-run publications to make vital information known to a college or university community,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention at Nashville, Tennessee, urges all college administrators to respect the legitimate free press rights of the student press, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Society praises and supports the Student Press Law Center for its advocacy and joins in its support of student media rights.

[ Back to Top ]

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus RSS Pinterest Pinterest
Flickr LinkedIn Tout


About SPJ
Mission
Membership
General Info
Headquarters Staff
Board of Directors
Committees
Bylaws | PDF version
Documentation
History
Chester C. Wells: His Story
Merchandise


Sigma Delta
Chi Foundation

Home
Board of Directors
Donors Circle
Give Monthly
Planned Giving
Memorial and Tribute Gifts
Signature Programs
Grants Information
Documentation

Your Donation Matters!
The work of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation depends on time, talent and financial support from journalists and others who support these goals. Our online giving process will only take a few moments. Please visit our donation page to support SPJ and the SDX Foundation.

Staff contact
Associate Executive Director
Chris Vachon
317/927-8000,
ext. 207
E-mail
Copyright © 1996-2017 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved.

Legal | Policies

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ