Journalism Organizations Get Organized

By Pederson, Rena | The Masthead, Summer 1996 | Go to article overview

Journalism Organizations Get Organized


Pederson, Rena, The Masthead


Traditionally, journalists have been an unorganized lot. Prided themselves on it, in fact.

Changing times are forcing more journalists to get their acts together and -- gasp! -- cooperate.

As a result, there are now dozens of professional organizations for journalists. So many, in fact, that a Council of Presidents of National Journalism Organizations formed in 1991 to encourage the exchange of information and ideas. At this year's spring meeting, some 28 presidents showed up to compare notes.

I thought you might be interested in what other groups are doing. In general, they are struggling with similar challenges - technology shock, diversity needs, member morale, and downsizing.

* The National Press Photographers president said they are struggling with the effect of digitization on street photographers. He recently sent them a list of 14 reasons why they should stay involved in the professional organization.

* The National Association of Black Journalists president said he is concerned about feedback from his members that they feel excluded in their news organizations, that they feel their views are not being heard by managers. One of his priorities is to look for ways to build bridges within papers.

* The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is conducting more workshops with high school journalists because many have been losing interest in writing careers by the time they reach college.

* The president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication said she is troubled by the trend to merge (and often submerge) journalism schools in other disciplines. She said many universities are cutting back their support of journalism programs and cited a school that had its budget slashed in half in recent years.

* The Society of Professional Journalists, one of the oldest groups at 90 and the largest at 14,000 - is leading a campaign against the new CIA policy of allowing agents to pose as journalists. …

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