“The Society of Professional Journalist’s mission is to help nurture the flow of young journalists in the business” said Luther Turmelle, the Milford Bureau Chief of the New Haven Registar and the President of the SBJ Pro Chapter in CT. Mr. Turmelle was kind enough to come to QU and speak to aspiring journalists who went to the SPJ meeting on September 16.
“SPJ is for anyone interested in journalism,” said Karin Schwanbeck, the assistant professor of broadcast journalism, who headed the meeting. SPJ wants to protect the First Amendment and those who write. With just 36 dollars and local dues, usually between ten and 15 dollars, students can compete in local and national conventions and receive Quill magazine, which includes news about SPJ as well as stories about press freedom.
Local and national conventions are held in various locations around the country. The national convention wrapped up just a few weeks ago in Florida. The national convention will be held in Pennsylvania in April. While at the conventions, students have the advantage of meeting professional journalists. Schwanbeck also said “It’s good to get off campus and met other people and students who care about journalism.”
The conventions include all types of journalism, print, radio, TV, online reporting, spot reporting, sports, feature writing, and photography.
At the next meeting of SBJ, which will be held sometime next month, students will elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Schwanbeck also hopes to have two elected students oversee the competitions. The amount for local dues will also be determined. Schwanbeck hopes to have a different guest speaker every month.
The local dues will help provide transportation or hotel arrangements for the guests who come. Guest speakers who come to campus will be totally decided by the students. Some professors have ties to the New Haven, Hartford, and New York market. They will try to help in anyway they can.
Luther Turmelle explained the importance of journalism and how it can affect others. “You never do the same thing twice and there are always challenges,” he said. “You could interview the President or cover historic events. Journalism is really a unique field to be in. You get to write and broadcast things that have made a difference.”
The Connecticut Pro Chapter has six or seven programming events a year. They are almost always free and in the New Haven area. In October, the Pro Chapter is holding a Forum on Malik Jones, a New Haven resident who was shot in East Haven by a policeman. The policeman said he acted in self-defense and was not charged. This caused an outrage in the community. The Forum will discuss this issue.
Students had all different reasons for coming to this meeting. James Matroni, a junior broadcast journalism major said, “I came to the meeting because I really want to get involved professional wise.”
Senior broadcast journalism major, Lauren Weismann said, “I’m a senior this year and it’s been the only thing I’ve seen for journalist majors.”
Senior broadcast journalism major, Howard Monroe-Gray said, “I just switched into the mass communications program last year and I need all the help I can get.”
For more information on the Society of Professional Journalists go to: www.spj.org or www.ctspj.org or email [email protected]