SPJ moves out of shadows with new president

October 10, 2017

Taking over the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ), new president Lindsay Haslett has some ideas in mind for revamping a campus organization that has primarily been absent from the conversation. by taking a more hands-on approach than in the past.

“I wanted to make Point Park more encompassing [for communication students],” Haslett said in an interview in her office last Wednesday. “You have journalists who do things like sports shows, vlogs and columns; this will be a centralized place to share resources and discuss resources.”

Haslett graduated from Duquesne University in 2014 with a degree in Media Communications.  She began her Masters in Business Administration at Point Park last fall. Though SPJ has been a part of the campus community for a few years, their presence has been primarily inactive.

“The last post on PointSync was from 2010,” Haslett said. “We have about 24 members now, but we hope to be able to establish a group of close journalists who want to share their opinions with each other.”

Aimee-Marie Dorsten, advisor to the society, said that expanding is one of their main aspirations.

“We’re looking forward to more students – from all across the School of Communication – joining our club,” Dorsten said in an email statement. “Our goal is to help them network and gain access to professional development before they look for an internship or job.”

According to Haslett, SPJ has a few other goals in mind – hosting events that will provide real-world connections in the field.

Josh Wolf, one of the first jailed vloggers, will be speaking at the Center for Media Innovation Nov. 6 during the organization’s chapter meeting.

“Josh will be sharing with us his experience as a jailed journalist who was not protected by California Shield Law because he was a student video journalist, rather than a paid reporter,” Dorsten said. “We’ll also talk about his choice for not revealing his sources or the identity of those he filmed during a G-20 summit protest.”

SPJ also hosted a bake sale Sept. 27, where the organization used its location in the West Penn lobby elevator lines to get the word out to students on their way to class about their presence on campus.

The group will also be hosting a fundraiser at the Primanti Bros. in Market Square Oct. 24, where 10 percent of purchases between 4:00-6:00 p.m. will go to SPJ.

“We hope to partner with other student journalists and professionals as a means to help students locate internships and employment after school,” Dorsten said.

Students like Jess Paterchak, who are already involved, are looking forward to changes that will make SPJ a more noticeable presence on campus.

“SPJ has kind of been hidden in the shadows but we are working to get it more set up,” Paterchak said. “I’ve always been one to encourage students to get involved on campus and this is something I really see as having potential.”

SPJ is hopeful about changes attracting new members, according to Dorsten.

“We are really excited that the Society of Professional Journalists is gaining ground on campus,” Dorsten said.

Anyone who is interested in joining can visit SPJ’s national website, contact Haslett or Dorsten with any questions or can attend the meeting and Wolf discussion.

 

See this and more at The Globe.

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