By: Editorial Staff
THE SOCIETY OF Professional Journalists, in a further sign of its financial rebuilding, has restored its chapter grant program and announced a fall summit focusing on efforts to amend the federal Sunshine Law.
SPJ’s executive committee also committed to reestablish its relationship with the accrediting council for university journalism education.
These actions came about as the committee reviewed SPJ’s financial performance for the 1994-95 fiscal year, which ended July 31.
Results through June show the society will end the fiscal year with a surplus of nearly $200,000, marking the first time in a decade SPJ will have posted back-to-back surpluses.
The association had a deficit of $100,000 at the end of fiscal 1993 and a surplus of the same amount last year.
“This foundation allows SPJ to focus its energy and attention on building programs and services for members, without being distracted by financial issues,” said executive director Greg Christopher.
SPJ, which faced a financial crisis in the 1980s, says it achieved its turnaround through a professional development program, increased interest in regional and national awards programs and a beefed-up membership.
“We’re good to go,” said SPJ president Reginald Stuart, assistant news editor in Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau. “We’re now positioned to return SPJ to its status as the premier journalism group serving all journalists in this country.”
Beginning next fiscal year, SPJ will give grants of up to $500 to help SPJ chapters underwrite the costs of local programs.
The grant program was abandoned in the 1980s.
In other action, SPJ announced plans for a retreat for chapter leaders next June and approved a charter for the Louisiana State University-Shreveport campus chapter.
The group also plans to hold a series of workshops, including one on front-line editing in Richmond in September and writing workshops in Houston in November, and in Indianapolis next March.
SPJ’s national convention will take place in St. Paul in October.