Coming to you (almost) from sunny California!

Time for EIJ!

By the time you receive this, your loyal chapter president/delegate/zookeeper will be high in the air flying to California to represent the St. Louis Pro chapter at Excellence in Journalism, taking place in sunny Los Angeles. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

This year’s convention is a cooperation between SPJ, RTDNA, NAHJ and NAJA, which is quite an alphabet soup. This year looks to be a terrific lineup of panels, with many serious and important issues for us all to discuss.

If you are an official card-carrying member of SPJ (really? nobody actually carries the cards), you soon will receive¬†your ballot to vote in the SPJ officer election. PLEASE VOTE. Turnout has sometimes been as low as 8 percent. That’s just embarrassing for people who spend as much time as we do talking about elections. It’s all online and takes approximately five minutes.

Here is the list of everyone who is running for an office, including a contested race for President-Elect, who will take over a year from now.

If you’ve been watching the Facebook page, you know that SPJ is considering a major change in the way it operates the national organization. The short version… there is no short version. The less-long version is that the national board would go from 23 members to nine, and the regional directors would be renamed “regional coordinators” and would not be part of the board. This probably oversimplifies the whole thing by a great amount, so if you’d like to be better informed, here is the detailed roundup of why they want to do this and how they went through this process of reimagining SPJ’s governance.

As your chapter delegate, I will be asked to vote on this. And I would like to hear from you. There will be many debates and discussions (I hear at least one alternative proposal is already circulating), and I am open to all arguments. So if you have strong feelings about this issue, please let me know!

“But wait, Madam President! Didn’t you just say I was going to have to vote myself?” I hear you cry. Yes, you as members will vote on officers and representatives. The delegates vote on bylaws changes and resolutions. Confused yet?

WARNING!! Your ballot may have an error. While St. Louis Pro is in Missouri and therefore in Region 7, Illinois is in Region 5. SPJ considers those of us who live or work in the metro-east grandfathered in to Region 7, because it’s more practical for us to be involved with St. Louis than Chicago. However, if you use an Illinois address (home or work) as your preferred address for your SPJ membership, you may see a Region 5 ballot instead.

So please check your ballot, and if you need to get your ballot switched to a Region 7 ballot, please email me at and I will get it fixed.

If you have any other questions or problems with voting, they have set up an election hotline at 317-920-4784, or you can email Tara Puckey at

I will be Tweeting as regularly as I can remember at @BNDedonald, and emailing as we know more about the election and proposals. I will also attempt to update our website and Facebook, but in between all that I need to go to some panels and meetings and occasionally sleep, so please bear with me. I will do my best to keep you all informed.

As always, it is my privilege and honor to represent you at EIJ, both as your delegate and as your president. I am proud of all the work that you do, and of the journalism practiced in our city. I look forward to sharing our stories with our compatriots in Los Angeles, and hope for a useful and enlightening convention. And I’ll try not to have too much fun.

Elizabeth Donald
President and Delegate

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