Magazine article The Quill

Get People Interested in SPJ

Magazine article The Quill

Get People Interested in SPJ

Article excerpt

Membership efforts - the ones that result in people joining and staying with SPJ for the long haul, anyway - are local.

Sure, national leaders and headquarters staff in Indianapolis develop strategies and goals for the Society as a whole. But inside each national target number for membership growth are dozens of smaller numbers of new and renewing members signed up one at a time.

What your Membership Committee, board of directors and headquarters staff will continue to do best is provide chapter leaders and members the resources that firmly support that local - often one-on-one - member-gathering effort.

The task isn't easy. Journalists face demands on their time, are busy, strapped for cash and overworked. So, to convince fellow journalists about the importance of SPJ, you have to be prepared to sell the Society. Sure, people should be idealistic and committed enough to want to join an organization that promotes better journalism. But be realistic. Simply handing a co-worker a brochure and saying, "SPJ is great!" isn't enough.

Here are five tips that will help bring home the benefits of SPJ membership:

1. SPJ should be tangible. Give members something tangible, something that makes them feel a part of the organization. If your chapter has a Web site, a newsletter, or a recorded information telephone line, get the word out about them and hand out copies of the newsletter.

2. Keep an eye out for newbies. Watch for new journalists in your area. If you notice a new byline in the local paper or a new face on the TV news, contact that person, welcome him or her to the area and introduce him or her to SPJ. …

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