I’m a three-term member of SPJ’s national board of directors. I recently learned this by accident…
Sometime in the next few weeks (I don’t know when), SPJ will pay up to $11,000 for a group of people (I don’t know how many) to spend several days (I don’t know the number) in Columbus, Ohio.
Those people (who the board of directors didn’t approve) will revise SPJ’s vaunted Code of Ethics. They’ll work off a first draft (written in secret by unknown authors) and submit their shiny new Code at SPJ’s annual convention in September – where 200 SPJers in attendance (out of 8,000 members) will endorse it in a single meeting at the end of the last day of the convention.
And then the SPJ Code of Ethics will officially change.
As a board member who knew none of this – and never voted on any of it – I complained. (It’s what I do best.)
The reply from SPJ’s senior leaders? Sorry, pal, that’s the way we’ve always done things.
Which is true. SPJ’s rules are literally 100 years old. They predate not only the Internet but also commercial radio.
(SPJ was founded in 1909, before refrigerators and zippers and crossword puzzles and women being allowed to vote.)
So I want to change SPJ’s rules before we change its Code of Ethics. Not surprisingly, SPJ leaders have told me I’m being “melodramatic.” You decide…