Why our chapter board is disappointed in SPJ today — and what we’re doing about it

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the July/August issue of Quill magazine, the Society of Professional Journalists’ magazine, is a soliloquy that reduces women to their backsides. This weekend, New Mexico journalist and SPJ member Marie C. Baca rightly pointed out that the image of a woman’s posterior used to illustrate this month’s “Training Day” feature about journalism training was a poor choice. As Baca put it in a letter to SPJ’s board: “We don’t get to see this woman’s face, she is simply an object, and the focal point of the cover photo is her butt.”

SPJ’s official response, in part (you can read it all here) was that the photo showed a woman in typical workout wear, and that “we are sorry some readers find it offensive.”

The non-apology “We’re sorry if you were offended” apology is neither helpful nor authentic, and in SPJ’s case, it’s damaging to our efforts to be an open and welcoming place for all journalists. If you’re asking why we’re devoting this space to a stock image on an association magazine cover, here’s why: The message it sends matters. Women and men enter journalism in equal numbers, but do not remain in the field or advance to management equally.

Join The SPJ-Rio Grande Board

Journalism is a competitive field. But sometimes journalists have to come together for the bigger fight to preserve the First Amendment, and keep our work meaningful and relevant. Our chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists connects the region’s journalists, works for access to records and government officials, creates forums for debate and conversation, and provides professional development opportunities. We need your perspective, expertise and energy. Take a turn on the board and help us ask the right questions.

It’s Election Time – For SPJ Rio Grande

If you’re already sick of politics, may we tempt with you an election that does not include any televised debates or even money and will wrap up in less than two months? It’s time to elect officers and board members for the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter. Your board is tasked with improving the state of journalism in New Mexico; working cooperatively with other directors on fundraising, membership and programming; and bringing innovative ideas and energy related to training, transparency and other issues critical to our state’s journalists. If that sounds like the job for you or someone you know, please consider submitting a nomination. The board has four officers and seven at large board members.