Follow-up of: Behind-the-Scenes Snapshot of SPJ, Region 1

Okay, I changed my mind about this behind-the-scenes discourse regarding the SPJ, Region 1 [see June 29 post]. The director and the professor who terminated his SPJ membership emailed me with permission to publish.

So here it is.

Date: Thu 26 Jun 17:47:03 EDT 2008
From: “Brasch, Walter ” <>
Subject: RE: why I quit SPJ — or, why SPJ quit me
To: “Carolyn James” <>, <>,

[The emails of all the folks receiving the message have been deleted for privacy purposes except the Cc.]


Hi, Carolyn: You have sent me a couple of e-mails, reaching out to show you are interested in campus chapters. I remember you from many years ago when you and I both worked with Vicky Katz. Since that time, SPJ has been hijacked in Region I by a “good ole boys” network. At the time, SPJ national was also undergoing some major changes that left me wondering about its leadership. During all the years I was in SPJ, I noted it was a good organization–with flaws that needed to be fixed. Few were. As one not among the “in” group, my views were seldom heard. Some of my views were that SPJ was set up as an organization for working journalists–but that executives, PR people, and corporate Management-in-the-guise of editors have dominated. I also challenged the costs of attending regional and national meetings, esp. since it tended to exclude the working journalist. I also was vigorous, as was Bill Knight, in pushing through a resolution, voted upon by the membership at a national convention, to have SPJ address issues of the workplace–only to have leadership deliberately override the concerns of members. And, SPJ leaders continue to wonder why membership is in decline?

Attached you will find two letters I wrote 3 or so years ago. These letters pretty much sum up why I resigned from SPJ, and from an organization that has failed to live up to its position as representing the workers. I also noted that SPJ was one of the LAST of the media organizations to even speak out against the PATRIOT Act. How can an organization that holds the FOI issues as a base be so inept as to NOT speak out against a law that violates the very tenets of the First Amendment? (Not to mention the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments). The courts have agreed with this interpretation AGAINST the PATAct.

Anyhow, when SPJ again reclaims its base as an organization for members (you know, the reporters making $25,000 a year, with split shifts and minimal benefits), then I might re-join.
/walt brasch/


Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., professor of Journalism
Bloomsburg University / Bloomsburg, Pa. 17815
570-389-4565 /
President, Pennsylvania Press Club

Latest Books: America’s Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (2005); ‘Unaccepptable’: The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina (2006), Sex and the Single Beer Can (2006); Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007). All available at and other stores.


From: Carolyn James [Original Message]
Sent: Thu 6/26/2008 2:09 PM
To: [Emails deleted]
Subject: SPJ Region One Director Carolyn James

Dear Professor:

As the Region One Director for the National Society of Professional
Journalists (SPJ), I am reaching out to you as I have your name and email
address on my list as the SPJ liaison for your college or university’s SPJ
chapter. I would like you to know that I am available to you as a source of
information and support for your chapter. Please email or call me at
516-798-5100 to let me know if there is anything I can do to help promote
your work. I would love to talk to you.
In the event you are not the individual who is responsible for the chapter,
please advise me of the correct name and email address or telephone number
or simply forward this email to them.
Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to speaking to you.
Carolyn James
Region One Director
Society of Professional Journalists



Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.