SPJ South Florida Members Vote to Change Name, Territory
South Florida SPJ members voted Thursday and Friday to officially change its name to the Florida Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, or simply SPJ Florida. Along with the name change, the members voted to expand the chapter’s territory from South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties) to cover the entire state where no other professional chapter exists.
This isn’t the first time the chapter has changed its name and expanded. SPJ Florida was founded in 1946 as the Greater Miami Professional Chapter of the Sigma Delta Chi Fraternity. SPJ was originally founded as a journalistic fraternity known as Sigma Delta Chi in 1909. In 1988 the national organization changed to its current name. And later the Miami chapter merged with the Broward/Palm Beach Chapter and became known as the South Florida chapter.
“It’s important for journalists all over the state to have an SPJ chapter to join and now they’ll have one. Our home base will always be in South Florida, but now we’ll be a potential resource for members across the state, ” said SPJ Florida President Jason Parsley. “Our annual awards are already a state-wide program and our new name better reflects our biggest and most important program of the year.”
Dori Zinn, Vice President of membership added: “Florida is a long state with SPJ members all over it. Unfortunately, we don’t have chapters to serve those members. Our roster already had members outside of our jurisdiction, including Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Orlando and even Melbourne. With this territory change, we’re simply giving all SPJ members across the state an opportunity to identify with a local chapter that some SPJ members have already taken advantage of.”
The chapter members also voted to upgrade the student board representative position to an elected voting position. Previously it was a non-voting appointed position.
“I think it’s important to treat college students like adults, and letting them participate in an election, and giving them power to vote is one way of doing that,” Parsley said. “Also the national SPJ board has two spots for elected, voting student reps so by doing this we’re mirroring what they already do.”
If any member or non-member has questions about these changes please feel free to contact Jason Parsley.