SPJ Interim Executive Director Skeel Gets the Job Permanently

By: E&P Staff The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) named Joe Skeel as its executive director Monday.

Skeel had been interim co-executive director and assumed many day-to-day responsibilities at the organization after Executive Director Terry Harper was diagnosed with brain cancer. Harper died June 2.

SPJ President Kevin Smith said Skeel was chosen after the organization vetted 180 candidates for the position. Skeel will also serve as executive director of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

"Joe distinguished himself from the field with his passion for journalism and his intimate understanding of our organization," Smith said.

Skeel joined SPJ in December 2004 as editor of Quill magazine. In 2008, he was named associate executive director.

SPJ President Smith said Skeel will have a "much needed stabilizing effect on its national headquarters after several years of difficulties surrounding Harper's illness."

"The current challenges facing journalism and our members are unprecedented," Skeel said in a statement. "My focus will be to ensure that SPJ is providing unparalleled services and support so that our members will be prepared to thrive in whatever climate the future brings. At the same time, we will work to cement SPJ as the key voice when it comes to journalism advocacy. As one of the few journalism organizations with the power to lobby Capitol Hill, I want all journalists to know we will continue to fight for their rights."

A 1994 Ball State University graduate with a B.S. in journalism, Skeel worked in community newspapers around central Indiana, including the Daily Journal in Franklin and the Republic in Columbus, for nearly a decade before joining SPJ.

SPJ's search committee, which was assembled in June, President Kevin Smith; SPJ President-Elect Hagit Limor; Sigma Delta Chi Foundation President Steve Geimann; SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Darcie Lunsford; former SPJ FOI Committee chairman Ian Marquand; Executive Director of the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press Lucy Dalglish; University of Alabama journalism professor George Daniels; and Ball State University journalism instructor Renee Petrina.


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