Excellence in Journalism 2015 | Orlando, Fla.

‘One member, one vote’ gives opportunity to all SPJ members

By The Working Press

By Ryan Murphy
The Working Press

Last year, only delegates representing chapters were eligible to vote in the Society of Professional Journalists’ national officer elections.

Officials said 830 votes were cast in SPJ’s first “one member, one vote” election for national officers, which accounted for about 11 percent of the 7,371 ballots emailed to members.

SPJ has a total membership of about 8,000.

“I think it exceeded expectations, to be honest … 800 is pretty darn good for the first year,” said Joe Skeel, SPJ’s executive director. “I think it’s a great start. I hope to build on it.”

Not only did SPJ members not have to leave their hotel rooms to vote, they didn’t even have to attend the convention. All voting took place online between Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

This is the first year that national officers were elected by popular vote. Previously, SPJ convention delegates only would cast a single vote on behalf of their chapters.

Last year’s delegation voted to change the election rules to give every SPJ member a say in choosing national officers.

“To go from 70 or 80 (voters) to over 800 is a massive jump,” Skeel said.

He said many of those who voted had positive things to say about the change.

“The opportunity to vote was really appreciated by those who cast a ballot,” Skeel said.

He noted that many SPJ members join for the local benefits and sometimes don’t pay as much attention to events and proceedings at the national level.

Skeel said he hopes the new voting structure will lead others, especially those who would not have known about elections, to vote.

“I hope it does open some doors and spark some interest,” he said. “I’d like to see what would happen if we had a slate with a higher number of contested elections.”

In the general election, only races for at-large director, region 4 director and student representative had any competition.

SPJ Election Results

David Cuillier, President-elect

Dana E. Neuts, Secretary-treasurer

Carl Corry, At-Large director

Kym Fox, Campus adviser at-large

Donald Meyers, Region 9 director

Patricia Gallagher Newberry, Region 4 director

Susan Stevens, Region 5 director

Eddye Gallagher, Region 8 director

David Sheets, Region 7 director

Mary S. Kenney, Student representative

Meg Wagner, student representative

  • Roger Miles

    Well what are the names of the people that were elected?

  • Steven Kalb

    With all respect to Mr. Murphy the story is not quite accurate. In 2011 we had delegates to the convention. The 80 or so who voted had been chosen by their respective chapters to REPRESENT them. This year we opted for one-person-one-vote. Roughly one in 10 voted. Those 830 could have conceivably have come from 2-3 states and would in NO way represent the rest of the SPJ membership. The reality is the current president has been elected by a “super-minority” rather than by the entire membership. Mr. Skeel is less than accurate.

  • Ryan Lowery

    “Journalist,” or if I feel the situation needs clarification, “independent journalist.”

  • James McGinty IV

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