Updated April 22, 2012:


Society of Professional Journalists,

Rio Grande Chapter


Preamble:  The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Rio Grande Chapter, is a duly constituted chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists, which is headquartered at 3909 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN. It operates as an SPJ chapter with the approval of the national SPJ.   The chapter is part of Region IX of SPJ.

These by-laws supersede any previous by-laws developed by the New Mexico Professional Chapter, SPJ. (Note: The chapter was originally  known as “New Mexico Professional Chapter.”) as well as  the Interim By-Laws  of  the revived  New Mexico Chapter, SPJ, which by-laws were  approved by the chapter’s interim board on  September 26, 2009.

Section 1. Jurisdiction: State of New Mexico and the El Paso region of West Texas

Section 2Purpose: To advance and protect journalism in New Mexico

Section 3. Membership:  Members in good standing with the national SPJ are eligible to apply for membership to the SPJ-RG Chapter. The Board of Directors of the chapter has the authority to accept individuals for membership in the chapter following a review of their eligibility and payment of any dues and application fees which the chapter may require.

Section 4. Board of Directors:  The Board of Directors shall consist of no more than 11 chapter members in good standingEfforts shall be made to seek willing candidates and achieve representation on the board from as many parts of the chapter’s jurisdiction as possible.

Beginning January 1, 2010 and continuing year to year thereafter, board members shall be elected through a majority vote of the membership.

a. Terms of Office: The terms of positions on the board of directors shall be for one year. Members of the board of directors shall not be limited by term or by total number of years served.”

b. General Duties: The board shall direct the activities of the chapter. In so doing, it approves memberships, develops policies, and represents the chapter in spokesmanship on issues related to Freedom of Information and First Amendment. It also determines times and place for membership meetings, in concert with Program Committee sets time for annual meeting for purpose of electing of officers and board members. It can propose a dues structure which is submitted to the membership for consideration. It approves budgets and financial statements and empowers no more than three officers to sign checks and other financial transactions for the chapter

c. Meetings of Board. The Board of Directors shall meet at least bi-monthly at times and places it chooses. Notices of meetings will be sent to board meetings by the president or his /her designee at least two weeks before the meeting date.  There shall be at least five regular meetings of the board per year. There shall be at least one “face-to-face” meeting per quarter. For meetings other than “face to face”, board members can be counted as being present and can participate in meetings through telephone conferencing or electronic conferencing.

Special call meetings can be called by the chapter president or by any three members of the board.

Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

  1. i. Quorum A quorum for conducting business for a board meeting is 50 per cent  of  the elected board members plus one (rounded off to the first whole number, For example, a quorum for 11 is six).

A quorum for conducting business at a membership meeting is one-half of the chapter members in good standing.

  1. ii. Calendar Year: The chapter will operate on a calendar year (January 1 through-December 31) for financial purposes and will hold its annual meeting within the first two weeks of November of each year for the purposes of introducing new officers and board members and conducting other official year-end chapter business.

d. Vacancies on Board: The chapter president shall appoint members to fill any vacancies that may occur on the Board due to resignation or any other reason. Such appointments by the president shall be subject to approval by the board.

e. Removal of board members: Missing three regular meetings of the board can be grounds for removal of a board member.

Section 5. Officers.  The following officers shall be elected annually by the chapter members for one year terms: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The officers must be members in good standing with SPJ.

Officer candidates shall be members of the board of directors who are in office at the time of an election. Any officer is eligible for re-election for two succeeding one-year terms in office, with the stipulation that after three consecutive terms in one of the elected offices, he/she shall not stand for re-election to that office for one year.

President: Presides at meetings of the chapter membership and board of directors. Appoints committee chairs and committee members. Serves as official spokesperson for chapter.

Vice-President—Communications: This Vice-President 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.

Vice-President—Development: This Vice-President is in charge of membership development may appoint other members to assist with contacts of prospective members and membership campaigns.

Either Vice-President may preside at chapter board meetings or membership meetings in place of the President when the President cannot attend or temporarily relinquishes the chair.

Secretary: 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.

Treasurer: 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.

Section 6: Convention Delegate: The chapter shall be represented by a delegate to the annual national convention of SPJ. That delegate and one alternate delegate shall be appointed by the chapter board of directors annually.

Section 7. Committees:  The president shall appoint members and chairs of standing, interim, and ad hoc committees from those members who are willing to serve. Other officers and board members are not prohibited from also serving on or chairing committees.  The standing committees of the chapter are as follows:

Membership CommitteeIdentifies and recruits chapter member candidates who meet the eligibility qualifications and refers them to the Board of Directors for approval. Organizes and conducts membership campaigns. Appoints regional representatives for each quadrant of the state. These representatives shall report to the board of directors.

  1. Elections Committee: Prepares lists of nominees for officers and board positions at least one month before election. Prepares and counts ballots for the annual election and reports to the board of directors.  The Elections Committee also serves as the nominating committee.
  2. Sunshine Committee: Maintains vigilance on Freedom of Information and First Amendment issues in New Mexico and makes recommendations to the board of directors for appropriate responses and actions.
  3. Program Committee: Organizes membership meetings. Selects speakers for programs with the assistance of the board of directors. Makes necessary arrangements with meeting facilities. Develops announcement of meetings in concert with chapter vice-president—communications and newsletter editor.
  4. Audit Committee: Conducts annual year-end audit of the financial records of the chapter and reports back to the Board of Directors.
  5. Additional Committees: The chapter board of directors may at its discretion establish other standing committees to conduct other functions of the chapter, such as Awards, Communications, Ethics, Liaison with Universities, Scholarships, etc.

The chapter president may appoint interim or ad hoc committees (or task forces) such as Long Range Planning, By-laws Review, etc. These committees are dissolved when they have fulfilled their stated purposes.

Section 8Elections: Election of board members and officers shall take place prior to the end of each year. The election shall be made by electronic ballot. Newly-elected officers and board members take office on January 1 of the following year.

Section 9, General Savings It is the intent of the officers, directors, and members of the Rio Grande Chapter to comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations in the conduct of its business as well as the requirements of the Society of Professional Journalists. If any part of these by-laws is not consistent with the requirements of the national Society of Professional Journalists requirements for chapters or if any part becomes contrary to state, local, or federal laws, any such part(s) shall automatically be removed from these by-laws. The remainder of these by-laws will remain in effect. The Board of Directors will take immediate action to correct any such issues.

Section 10.Non Discrimination: There shall be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, age, or sex toward any individual in terms of membership approval or right to stand for elected office, as long as that individual meets the requirements of Section 3 of these by-laws.

Section 11.—Amendment of By-laws: These by-laws may be amended by majority vote of the membership at any time. Any amendments must come from the chapter’s board of directors and presented to the chapter membership for approval.

Effective Date and Signatures


Be it known that the  Officers and Board members of the Rio Grande Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, do certify that these by-laws are the by-laws of the Society of Pr0fessional Journalists,  Rio Grande Chapter, approved on April 22, 2013, and amended as indicated below.

President:  Laura Paskus

Vice-President—Communications: Megan Kamerick

Secretary: Elva Osterriech

Treasurer: Peter St. Cyr


Elaine Baumgartel

Bryant Furlow

Robert Galin

Matt Grubs

Andrew Lyman

Alexa Shirtzinger


Updated on April 22, 2013 – amended rules governing officer terms. Original Date of Draft:  September 26, 2009

Re-drafted: November 14, 2009 to provide for two vice-presidents

Re-drafted: May 21, 2010, to change name of chapter from “SPJ–New Mexico Chapter” to  “SPJ-Rio Grande Chapter”  and to remove references to “interim by-laws

Updated November 19, 2010 to alter Section 8 as per board vote and update list of board members and officers.