If the elections in Albuquerque and Las Cruces are not enough for you, we have elections of our very own coming up soon.
The Society of Professional Journalists Río Grande Chapter will choose its board of directors for 2018 in December. Board members, who serve terms of one year, are key not only to leading the chapter but in advocating for journalists in New Mexico and West Texas.
And we need all the advocates we can get.
If you or a member you know are interested in taking an active role in building the chapter, please consider running for a seat on the board.
We will accept nominations starting today, Nov. 8, until Friday, Dec. 8.
On Sunday, Dec. 10, members will receive ballots via email. Voting will be open until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16. I will report the results of the election on Sunday, Dec. 17.
Our bylaws call for up to six at-large members and five officers to be elected by a majority of the membership:
A president who “presides at meetings of the chapter membership and board of directors. Appoints committee chairs and committee members. Serves as official spokesperson for chapter.”
A vice-president for communications who “is the officer in charge of chapter communications, which can include newsletters, website, other electronic communications or any other appropriate tool. May appoint members to assist with the internal communications work, including a newsletter editor.”
A vice-president for development “in charge of membership development may appoint other members to assist with contacts of prospective members and membership campaigns.”
A secretary who “writes and maintains official minutes of all regular and special call board meetings. Handles correspondence as directed by the president. Notifies national office annually of names of new officers and date that they will take office.”
A treasurer who “collects dues, pays bills. Prepares budgets. Maintains financial records of the chapter including an annual financial statement of income and expenses. Files any financial reports required. Submits books to chapter’s Audit Committee for annual audit.”
To submit a nomination, please send me an email at email@example.com. Be sure to specify if you are running for a particular post or for an at-large seat. And please include a brief bio to include on the ballot as well as a headshot (some of us remember faces better than names).
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.
Baca’s letter makes us think of a young woman journalist who might see image and have concerns but not be sure if she would be heard. Later, she may be a little less likely to stick her neck out and ask for a raise, as Baca noted, or advocate for a tough assignment.
And if journalism is covering itself this way, how are we covering our communities? We must do better than this.
Our profession and SPJ must consider the impact of the images and words we use in coverage. Heck, the responsibility to do that is enshrined in our ethics code: “Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.”
It’s an editor’s job to consider whether people who are different from her would see bias in the words and images she’s chosen – and then consult people who are different from her, to see if she’s right.
The SPJ Rio Grande board shares Baca’s concerns about the image and about SPJ’s unwillingness to admit that it made a poor choice.
We’re committed to being an open and welcoming place for all journalists, and to holding our own organization accountable when we see it fall short, as we’ve done here, by writing these words and sending them to SPJ’s board president.