By David L. Brown, VP-communications
The board of the New Mexico Chapter met Thursday evening, February 25 via conference call. The board has set out on an aggressive path aimed at making our chapter a prime force in New Mexico journalism. A number of ideas were discussed, including strategies to expand membership, create worthwhile programs, raise funds, and generally increase communications between members and the journalism community.
The following members participated in the board meeting: Betsy Model, David L. Brown, Gwyneth Doland, Staci Matlock, Dennis Roberts, Christina Durano, Dan Vukelich, Bill Diven, and Pilar Armstrong. Region 9 Director John Ensslin attended as a guest.
Betsy Model, president, announced that with the agreement of SPJ National, the West Texas media market is now considered part of our chapter’s territory. We announced here last week that veteran El Paso journalist Tim Roberts has joined our chapter, and we hope to attract many more members from the West Texas area. El Paso journalists are located a daunting 750 miles from their nearest Texas SPJ chapter in Houston.
Dan Vukelich reported on conversations he had with about 20 journalists in the state, both members and non-members, to explore how SPJ NM can best serve the needs of the profession. He said those he spoke with are interested in networking opportunities, a “bridge to the real world” as he put it. They also want continuing education programs, even simple “brown bag” lunch meetings to learn about tools, tips and trends. It was suggested that meetings could be recorded as videos and linked on our website to allow others to share the experience.
Dan is developing a survey based on his research. He said he wants SPJ NM “to be a hub, not a spoke in the wheel of New Mexico journalism.” This is a good metaphor for the goals the board is setting for our chapter.
The board also discussed the idea of developing a “co-op” advertising model, where ads could be traded between our chapter website and those of media and other organizations. This would benefit both parties and build awareness of SPJ NM. Gwyneth Doland, editor of the New Mexico Independent, offered her organization to become the first participant.
Gwyneth has also taken the lead to establish a Twitter account for our chapter. We can soon be Tweeting each other, an especially timely and valuable form of communication, especially for “Jobs & Gigs” opportunities. See details in the next post.
Bill Diven raised the point that there are a number of photojournalists in the state, and that many reporters are required to produce stills and even video when covering stories. He suggested that programs relating to these visual skills might be a good way to extend our reach into this area while helping non-photographer members cope with these new demands.
John Ensslin gave a brief Region 9 report, including a plug for the Regional Conference to be held in Denver April 9-10. More details on this will be coming soon, so watch this site and make plans to attend if you can.
John also announced that he is running for a seat on the SPJ national board as secretary-treasurer. Good on you, John! Voting will take place during the national convention in Las Vegas, NV later this year.