Members in good standing will receive on-line ballots. Voting will close at 5 p.m., Monday May 1.
If you want to verify that your dues are current, please email our Recording Secretary Kathryn Foxhall at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions on the election procedures, please email the Nominations Committee chair Stephenie Overman at email@example.com
President – Kathleen Burns
In the 2017 elections for SPJ DC chapter president, I ask for your vote and your ongoing support, as our organization continues to be a significant force in today’s challenging news environment.
As the chapter’s incumbent president, I am committed to upholding the organization’s ethical and journalistic standards in an environment that portrays the “media as the enemy.” We are 7,000 professional and student SPJ members who support the First Amendment, free speech and independent reporting. The DC Chapter is in the forefront of that effort, and is 3rd in numbers among the 50 national chapters. We are an innovative, inclusive, vibrant and accountable team, welcoming to all.
Here are 3 reasons why I ask for your vote:
I was Program Chair and VP (2013-2016). Our SPJ team organized 20 varied events, in partnership with The NY Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, NPR, Bloomberg News, VOA, The New Yorker and The Hill cartoonists, and Mother Jones magazine. As Chapter President this year, I organized the Media Law Day for freelancers; I lined up The Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan and LA Times congressional reporter Sarah Wire to address SPJ; and I planned the “Kicked Off the New Year” brunch at Clyde’s to honor long-time SPJ members. We’ve had networking media mixers, trips to Nationals ballpark and to the Kennedy Center.
As a long-time SPJ member, and as an experienced chapter officer, I’ve had the opportunity to hone skills essential to running an effective organization, including managing logistics, overseeing budgets and setting goals. I’ve judged SPJ national and local media contests; revamped committees; written for the chapter newsletter; and supported local student SPJ efforts. Our chapter’s books are in the black, and our membership is on the upswing. If re-elected, I will continue to serve DC SPJ with my time, energy and talents. In 2016, I was honored by Alexandria’s Salute to Women with its “Making A Difference Award.” In addition to SPJ, I am also an active member of the Journalism and Women’s Symposium.
Like SPJ, my career has included diverse journalistic endeavors. I was a foreign correspondent for BNA in Australia; a bureau chief for Fairchild News in Detroit; a UPI reporter at Treasury in DC; and a reporter, theater critic, sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune and a proud member of the prize-winning team that investigated voter fraud. On the academic side, I have taught at 5 US universities and overseas at the undergraduate, graduate and adult education levels. Since 2009, I have served as a lecturer at George Mason University and as a student mentor. This year, I will be a guest speaker at 2 international academic conferences. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
President — Jonathan Make
I’m Jonathan Make, current SPJ DC vice president, and I seek your vote for president.
What I stand for, backed by a consistent track record on this board for a few years, is: Transparency, effectiveness and inclusiveness. We have an excellent board filled with young and older members alike (I’m about halfway in-between age-wise), and I pledge to continue encouraging chapter members to organize and attend SPJ DC’s many events, educate the public about what journalists do and why it’s important, and promote journalism ethics.
I’ve helped to arrange through a team approach many successful SPJ DC programs. They include a series of panels on the media and the presidency, held at local venues including the Washington Post (http://bit.ly/2mLlLpW). I’ve helped organize events on other issues like drones and privacy, and local news. I often write stories for the SPJ DC newsletter about these events, and take photographs. I help publicize chapter events through journalism schools, other associations of journalists and other means including the media (such as http://wapo.st/2nqH1Qe).
I judge local and national SPJ and other journalism awards every year, help mentor local news interns through a program organized by fellow board member Eric Falquero, and frequently attend and cover as a journalist news-media events. I submit award entries into various journalism contests on behalf of my newsroom, which has won SPJ national’s top public-service journalism award. In other spheres, I regularly volunteer at my son’s local public school and at religious congregations, and I am on a local alumni committee of Reed College, (a committee where I served as president for a single year; something I hope to do here, too).
By day, I am executive editor of newsletter publishing company Warren Communications News, with titles including Communications Daily. Past employers include Bloomberg News. You can follow me at https://twitter.com/makejdm and at https://medium.com/@makejdm. Email: email@example.com
Vice President Alice Ollstein
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, where she covers Congress and specializes in health care policy and voting rights. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and presidential elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and ThinkProgress. She has been invited to speak on and moderate panels organized by Politicon, SPJ, the Journalism and Women Symposium, and Oberlin College. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
Having served for a year on DC Pro board as an at-large director, and having benefited immensely from the camaraderie, professional development, and networking SPJ has to offer, I want to step into a leadership role that will help me give back to the journalism community.
As the Vice President of SPJ’s board, I want to learn from my more seasoned colleagues, and join with them to address the most pressing questions facing our industry: how can we restore public trust in the media? How can outlets achieve sustainable funding? What is the future of investigative journalism? How can we best hold the powerful accountable?
I believe as a younger reporter I have brought to the board a fresh perspective and new energy. Over the past year I have organized many well-attended events that are accessible to student journalists and young professionals: including a panel about covering the 2016 election and a roundtable at the New York Times on the ethical minefield of using anonymous sources. In the future, I want to think of ways the chapter can use our considerable financial resources to benefit struggling journalists in the area.
It would be an honor to continue working with an organization as important as the SPJ, whose work on media ethics and press freedom is more important now than ever.
Corresponding Secretary – Amy Fickling
I have been active in the Washington, D.C., chapter for many years while working as a reporter and/or editor at a variety of media outlets in the metropolitan area, including as assistant news editor at the McClatchy-Tribune News Service when it closed in 2014. Currently a copy editor for Warren Communications News, I stand ready to continue to serve the organization, which has been a cornerstone of my career through its encouraging of high professional standards and the relationships with fellow journalists it fosters.
In the current political environment in Washington, with the media being part of the story with the new administration, it is time to make sure those in our profession are up to speed on their ethics and up to doing their jobs well, in the face of so much negativity. I’m running for corresponding secretary to help SPJ DC Pro keep up with our current chapter membership in ways we haven’t in the recent past, and to be here as moral support for our membership, also encouraging more journalists to join our organization.
Having been chapter president and a two-term national SPJ board member — as Region 2 director — after moving “up the ladder” in the chapter from recording secretary and Dateline editor positions, I stepped aside from officer positions for a few years to give others their turn at leadership roles. After returning to the board, I have been treasurer for several years. I’ve also served on the chapter’s (and for a time, on national SPJ’s) SDX Foundation for a number of years, currently as vice president. It is the chapter’s education arm, providing scholarships to undergraduate journalism students at area colleges.
My time as treasurer was not spent merely submitting monthly treasurer’s reports. In recent years my efforts have put in place many of the financial best practices recommended by the national organization, shaped to fit our circumstances locally.
This year, as the board has reviewed the chapter bylaws for possible revisions, I have shepherded the proposed language document as we move toward a final version of the proposals, using my knowledge and experience from having served on the national SPJ Bylaws Committee for a number of years.
Now I will apply my talent and energy toward growing our chapter membership and making sure we communicate with members, the public and the journalism community effectively.
Recording Secretary Elizabeth Grisham
I am currently a director on the SPJ-DC chapter board. I serve as webmaster of the chapter website and as editor of the chapter newsletter. I also send many of the chapter Eventbrite notifications and reminders.
As a history student (B.A. 2002, M.A. 2012—George Mason University) and a communication student (B.A. 2013, M.A. 2015—George Mason University) I gained experience as a transcriptionist and learned the importance of keeping good records. I am also an efficient typist. I enjoy contributing to the chapter and am excited about continuing my service as recording secretary.
Outside of SPJ, I am a freelance science writer and am working with an engineering professor at George Mason University to write a history of engineering in India.
Treasurer Eric Falquero
I’m committed to healthy growth of our chapter and am running for Treasurer because financial transparency and maintenance supports everything that we do. Clear and concise reports allow the rest of the board to operate without worry and our budget speaks to our priorities. As part of my vision for growing this position, I propose outsourcing some of our accounting services —which I see as stabilizing our legal responsibilities as new treasurers are elected throughout the years to come. I’ve served as a board director for one year, planning programs, drafting policies, judging competitions and building partnerships with other institutions. Outside of SPJ-DC, I edit Street Sense, a small nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty and largely supported by volunteers.
Board of Directors – 3 Openings (Directors are elected to two-year terms.)
April Bethea was appointed to the SPJ DC Pro chapter board in January to fill an unexpired director’s term. She is a homepage producer at The Washington Post, which she joined in February 2016. She previously spent 11 years at The Charlotte Observer as a reporter, online producer and digital editor.
Bethea is a past chapter officer with the Charlotte Pro SPJ Chapter and a past chair of SPJ’s diversity committee. She’s also an alum of SPJ’s Scripps Howard training and attended past national conferences as a diversity and Terry Harper fellow. She is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (and previously served as a chapter officer in Charlotte) and the Online News Association.
Dee Ann Divis
Dee Ann Divis is the editor of Inside Unmanned Systems magazine and the Washington correspondent for Inside GNSS magazine. Starting in journalism through a high school program at her hometown paper, she has written about all aspects of science and technology—in particular space, satellite navigation and the aerospace industry—for outlets including Aerospace Daily, United Press International, Jane’s International Defense Review, the Los Angeles Times and the Aviation Week website. She joined UPI as science and technology editor, stepping up to also cover biodefense and terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. After spending a school year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow she returned to UPI to write about science and technology policy and biodefense. She joined the Washington Examiner shortly after its launch in 2005, rising to become assistant managing editor. In 2012 she received the Robert D.G. Lewis Watchdog Award from SPJ’s Washington, D.C., Chapter for her freelance coverage of a proposal that would have overloaded GPS service across the United States. She won the chapter’s Dateline award for Washington correspondent that year and again in 2013 and 2015. Her work has also been recognized by Military, Reporters and Editors and the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association.
I have reported for more than 40 years in Washington, mostly for publications for health professionals. I have been alarmed to see intensification of rules forcing reporters to go through public information officers to speak to anyone in an agency. Those, along with the further obstructions those rules enable, as well as better known threats, have seriously eroded press freedom. The SPJ chapter in the nation’s capital can be a major voice on this. I worked with SPJ on our letters to President Obama, including the one signed by 53 groups in 2015 and I was part of the delegation to the White House on the issue. I have served for three years on Chapter Board and two years as recording secretary.
–Article Six- Duties of Officers (from SPJ DC Bylaws)
Section 1: The President shall preside at all meetings, shall exercise general supervision over the affairs and activities of the Chapter, and shall serve as an ex-officio member of all committees.
Section 2: If the President is absent or incapacitated, the President’s duties shall be assumed by the Vice President. The Vice President shall also serve as program coordinator for the Chapter.
Section 3: The Recording Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Chapter and send records of the proceedings to members of the Executive Board.
Section 4: The Corresponding Secretary shall be the custodian of all Chapter records unless a special officer shall be appointed for that purpose, shall maintain the Chapter roster, including all records and reports on membership enrollment, and shall conduct all correspondence of the Chapter, as required.
Section 5: The Treasurer shall receive all Chapter funds, keep them in one or more Federally insured depositories approved by the Executive Board, and payout funds only by direction of the President. The Treasurer shall make a written monthly report to the Executive Board of all disbursements, receipts and balances.
B– Article Seven- Executive Board (from SPJ DC Bylaws)
Section 1: The Executive Board of the Chapter shall consist of the officers of the Chapter, the immediate past president, and six directors chosen as provided in the Chapter Constitution and, when applicable under Section 3 of Article Five of the Constitution, the Region 2 Director and any elected national officer who is a Chapter member.
Section 2: The Executive Board of the Chapter shall be responsible for conducting the business of the Chapter.
C—Article Five- Directors (from the SPJ DC Constitution)
Section 1: There shall be elected from the membership of this Chapter six directors who shall meet at least nine times per year with the officers of the Chapter to formulate plans and procedures. These directors together with the officers of the chapter and the immediate past president shall constitute the Executive Board.
Section 2: Three directors shall be elected each year for a term commencing at the next annual installation of officers and expiring at the installation two years thereafter.[While the Directors do not have specific duties allocated to them by the Bylaws and the Constitution of the chapter, they are expected to work fully with the board and to select an area or areas of interest on which they would like to focus their efforts, according to Region 2 Director Andy Schotz. They can choose from existing committees or propose a new committee or opt to work on annual events such as the Hall of Fame Dinner. The chapter also encourages Directors to volunteer to serve as judges for National’s Pro Chapter and Student media competitions and for the DC Chapter’s annual DATELINE awards. They can decide what is the best form of service to the chapter, based on their own interest and time commitments.]
Section 3: If the Region 2 Director or an elected national officer is a member of this Chapter, that person shall be a voting member of the Executive Board.
D— Article Four- Officers (from SPJ DC Constitution)
Section 1: The officers of this Chapter shall be a president, a vice president, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary and a treasurer.
Section 2: The officers shall be elected for one-year terms, which shall begin at the next annual installation of officers and shall end at the following installation.