Apr. 1, 2015  

SPJ Florida to National: Help Fix This

By Jason Parsley

Jason Parsley headshotThe Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists urges SPJ’s national board to take a stand in the ongoing controversy surrounding Indiana’s so-called religious freedom law that was signed into law last week.

Like several other national companies and organizations that have condemned the law, SPJ is an Indiana-based employer. SPJ should publicly condemn this law so its employees know where the organization stands. It’s also important for LGBT journalists and SPJ members to know they have an organization that supports them and is committed to diversity.

Two of SPJ’s core tenets include “To encourage diversity in journalism” and “To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely.”

Both of these missions are threatened by a law like this, which validates discrimination and creates an environment of fear among the LGBT community.

The ramifications of this law go beyond just the LGBT community and can impact all diverse groups.

SPJ must ask itself if the organization can maintain its commitment to “encourage applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and [LGBT] individuals” and  “actively seek diverse candidates” if it continues to be headquartered in Indiana and remains silent on this law.

Update: April 2, 2015, 2:13 p.m.—SPJ President Dana Neuts and SDX Foundation President Robert Leger released this statement a full day after this post was published.


Jason Parsley is the Past President of SPJ Florida. Follow him on Twitter.

1 Comment

  • Dana Neuts says:

    Jason, I can appreciate your concern for the timing, and I respect your passion for this subject. As I mentioned to you privately in my emails to you Thursday, Friday and yesterday, I feel that this was a decision to be made by the full board, not just by me. Consulting with a 23-member board across the country in four time zones takes time. In this case, Robert Leger and I also consulted with the SDX board with a similar make-up. I’m sorry you felt that took too long, but I handled it the way I felt most appropriate for the organization. I welcome any and all feedback on the issue. The national board will be discussing this further at its April 18 meeting.

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