SPJ: A Reason To Miss Sunday Morning Services

INDIANAPOLIS–  It’s the first Sunday in June and I’m not able to start the week off in church due to some travels that have me in Indiana’s Capital City.

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s largest, most broad-based group of journalists.   This weekend, I’m joined by more than 40 other attendees at the Ted SCripps Leadership Institute.

My pastor back home in Tuscaloosa even set me up with a church to visit here in Indianapolis.  But,  9 a.m. start this morning won’t quite be enough time to make even an early 8:30 a.m. service.

So, what could possibly be so important that I have to miss church on Sunday?

I can list five reasons:

1.  SPJ Membership is Down, and we need to fix it.

Linda Hall, our membership coordinator (see in the above picture) works hard to keep our membership at levels it should be.  Today we will be talking about membership strategies as our three-day meeting winds down.

2.  Time to set some specific plans for 2010-2011

Scott Leadingham, editor of QUILL, SPJ's membership magazine, shows the deep thought that we will be in on this final day of the Institute.

A big part of this gathering is about planning for the upcoming year.  While those of us on the SPJ National Board can set a course of action for the overall Society, those plans have to be localized and actionized by those leaders here this weekend.

3. Time to take our group picture– a better one than this

The 2009 Scripps Class

One of the highlights of Sunday’s events at the Scripps Institute is taking our official group photo.   For more than a dozen years, this event has trained leadership in the society and we have our group photos by which to remember the weekend.


University of Alabama SPJ Vice President Chartis Ivy receives her certificate upon completing the SPJ Scripps Institute in June 2009.

Each of the 43 participants will receive a certificate in a ceremony similar to the one depicted above where my outgoing Vice President Chartis Ivy received her certificate at the 2009 retreat.   It’s an important signal that those here from two dozen states have reached a point of READINESS to work in SPJ.

5.  Brainstorm

As the cliche goes, last but not least, we need to brainstorm some ideas that we can put into place to make SPJ better.

So I think these are five reasons to miss Sunday Morning Services today, even if I am in a city like Indianapolis where there are lots of churches.    Talk about true dedication to SPJ!

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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