Photos Suggest Society of Professional Journalists Takes Its Toll on Executive Director

SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel’s latest photo shows how much he has developed and even aged physically during his role leading the nation’s largest organization of journalists.

Those of us on the Society of Professional Journalists National Board of Directors have the pleasure of working directly with Joe Skeel, who leads our top-notch national staff.

The photo on the left dates back a few years ago when Skeel was the editor of the Society’s membership publication, QUILL Magazine. The photo on the right has been added more recently.

Recently, I noticed that even for the baby-faced executive director, working with the 20+ members of the Board (and a separate Board for the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation) and the nearly 8,000 members of the largest, most broad-based organization for journalists can take its toll, to use a cliche.

Skeel, who became our executive director in 2009,  updated his photo on the SPJ Web site  during the last year and we can see that the years and the stress are showing just a bit.

As one who is proud of the increasing number of gray hairs showing up on my head, I am the first to say — aging gracefully is good.

But, Joe,  don’t let the Society make you grow older before it’s time.

Those in the national media have made fun of President Barack Obama graying during the years of his first term.

I guess once in a while, we have to poke a little fun at ourselves– as journalists  (Joe worked as a journalist before joining the SPJ national staff in 2004) when the age starts to show.


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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