National is almost here!

It’s almost time for SPJ’s national convention! Believe it or not, you have up until Sept. 27 to register and join us for the fun in Las Vegas! 

Seriously, SPJ’s national conference is always an amazing experience, with a ton to learn and a chance to gain perspective talking to journalists from around the country (and the world). Often we get so bogged down in our own little silos hammering out the news every day that we forget the wider picture of what’s going on in the industry and in other newsrooms. It’s especially positive for students, who get to explore niche interests and make contacts beyond the walls of their universities. 

Also, it’s in Vegas. 

Here’s the link to sign up if you’d like to do so. Also taking place at National is the annual meeting of the Society delegates. Once again chapter president Elizabeth Donald (that would be me) will represent St. Louis Pro at the meeting, so if you have any thoughts, questions or strong feelings on the issues facing the Society, be sure to let her know at

Remember that while the delegates approve major initiatives, the officers of the society (including president) are voted on by all members. That means now is a great time to double-check your membership and make sure you are current and your proper email is listed. During the convention, you will receive an email with instructions for your vote. Here’s a link to SPJ Election Central, which has a Q&A for all your questions, and a big green link at the top to bios and statements from this year’s candidates for office. Please don’t forget to vote! Turnouts have been quite frankly abysmal from the Midwest, and we want your voice heard. 

And if you find that your membership has lapsed (or you, er, haven’t gotten around to officially joining yet) – now is the perfect time. SPJ is running a discounted membership sale until Oct. 1, bringing the cost down to $50 a year for professionals and $25 for students, retirees and post-grads. This pricing applies to all new and returning members (not renewals), so now is the time! Be sure to indicate that St. Louis Pro is your home chapter. Click here for details.

Finally… We got the news a day or so ago that St. Louis Pro was honored as our region’s top chapter, and then today it was announced that we are finalists for national chapter of the year. That is an honor reserved for three large and three small chapters nationally, and we could not be more honored to be on that short list. Whether or not they choose us, we are delighted to see our work highlighted in this way. We are in fact a very small chapter, and the bulk of the work is done by our volunteer board, all of whom have enormously busy schedules but devote their spare time to developing programming and initiatives for St. Louis’ journalism community. We are very grateful to the national organization for this honor, and looking forward to celebrating with them in two weeks. 

Edited to add: We have just found out that we were also awarded a Circle of Excellence award for our annual First Amendment Free* Food Festival, in which we get people to sign away their First Amendment rights for free food … and a lesson in what life would be like without them. Click here for pics from this year’s event!

To current board members Tammy Merrett, Jennifer Brown, Katelyn Mary Skaggs, Kari Williams, Alex Aultman and Gary Meyer, and outgoing board member Kae Petrin, I thank you all for your service and dedication to our chapter and our profession over the past year and for so many more. 

Roll the dice! See you in Vegas!