The SPJ-DC chapter’s Constitution establishes it as an entity, states its purpose, describes its membership and lays out the basics of governance. Its By-Laws detail how to carry out the Constitution.
The chapter was established on Jan. 1, 1936*, pre-dating television and the internet. Our industry and technology has changed since then, but the chapter’s governing documents don’t address the use of electronic communication. The proposed revisions seek primarily to change that, allowing and encouraging the chapter to continue to use the latest technology in its programs and meetings and in communications with members.
The chapter’s Executive Board has tentatively approved the proposed revisions. The proposals are noted in bold and underlined in the text that follows. We welcome your feedback. Email email@example.com with any questions, concerns or suggestions about the changes.
* We celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2011 based on our best information about the chapter’s charter.
Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
Article One- Name
Section 1: The name of this organization shall be the Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Article Two- Purpose
Section 1: The purpose of this Chapter shall be to associate journalists possessing the qualities symbolized by the Society — talent, energy and truth — into an organization of professional camaraderie; to assist the members in upholding the noblest principles of journalism, and to cooperate with them in this field; and to advance the highest ethical standards.
Article Three- Membership
Section 1: Any national member of the Society of Professional Journalists is eligible for membership in this Chapter.
Section 2: New members may be admitted provided they fulfill the requirements set forth in the national By-Laws of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Article Four- Officers
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.
Article Five- Directors
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.
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.
(ADD LANGUAGE NOT IN ORIGINAL)
Article Six- Meetings and Programs
NEW Section 1: “Meetings” as used herein shall mean regularly scheduled and special meetings of the executive board, as well as duly called and advertised meetings of the chapter membership for the purpose of conducting Chapter business.
NEW Section 2: “Programs” as used herein shall mean regularly scheduled or special events sponsored by the Chapter or held in conjunction with another entity. The times and places will be set by the executive board.
ORIGINAL Section 1 BECOMES NEW Section 3: Meetings of this Chapter will be called by the
Ppresident, with the approval of the Executive Board. Appropriate advance notice or advertisement shall be given, so that a quorum may be achieved and open meetings guidelines are followed.
ORIGINAL Section 2 BECOMES NEW Section 4: An annual business meeting may be held at least once each year, to hear reports from all officers and committee chairpersons.
NEW Section 5: All chapter programs and other events the Chapter is party to sponsoring shall be on the record and open to media coverage. Guest speakers shall be notified in advance of this chapter policy. Any exceptions shall be approved by the executive board, according to chapter policy.
NEW Section 6: Any Chapter member, the public, member of the national Society and others by invitation may attend meetings of the executive board, except when the board meets online for the purpose of voting electronically on an emergency matter, according to chapter policy. The board meetings shall be on the record, unless other ground rules are established from time to time, according to chapter policy.
NEW Section 7: If the executive board meets online and takes any action, according to chapter policy, the meeting shall be noted and the action ratified by a vote at the next regular meeting of the executive board, with both recorded in the minutes of that meeting.
Article Seven- Amendments
Section 1: An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed in writing at any regular meeting of the Chapter. Such proposed amendment must be signed by 5 percent of the Chapter membership before being submitted and shall be read to the meeting by the presiding officer. After such notice, the proposed amendment and a ballot for voting on its adoption shall be
sent communicated to all members. The amendment shall be effective if approved by a majority of the chapter members voting.
Section 2: An amendment to the Constitution may be proposed in writing by two-thirds of the Executive Board
membership and shall be enacted if approved by a two-thirds vote of those Chapter members in good standing attending the next regular meeting of the Chapter called for the purpose of voting on the amendment, provid inged that notice of said meeting and the full wording of the proposed amendment will have been mailed communicated to all Chapter members in good standing not less than 15 working days 60 days prior to the meeting, giving 30 days for comments and the following 30 days to redistribute the amendment with any further revisions noted from the comment period.
Section 3: Amendments to this Constitution shall become effective immediately unless otherwise specified in the written proposal for amendment.
(ADD AND SUBTRACT LANGUAGE TO CLARIFY)
Article One- Membership
Section 1: Any journalist who applies and is approved for national membership in the Society of Professional Journalists may become a member of the Washington, D.C., Chapter by
submitting a Chapter application and paying the annual Chapter dues. Society affiliates, variously called associates and supporters of the Society, are not considered members for purposes of voting or Chapter membership. Prospective members may apply for national and local membership through the national headquarters. Both national and local membership applications also may be processed through the Chapter’s Corresponding Secretary annual dues must be kept current for a member to remain a Chapter member in good standing.
NEW Section 2: Only Chapter members in good standing shall be eligible to vote in Chapter elections and to cast votes in other balloting that may arise.
Article Two- Dues
Section 1: The annual dues of this Chapter shall be set by the Executive Board at the beginning of each program year.
(ADD LANGUAGE TO CLARIFY)
Article Three- Nominations
Section 1: A nominating committee shall be appointed each year during December to receive nominations, nominate qualified members for Chapter offices and present a slate of candidates no later than April 1. Members in good standing seeking consideration as nominees must contact the nominating committee by February 1.
Section 2: The nominating committee shall be appointed by the
Ppresident, with the approval of the Executive Board.
Section 3: The nominating committee shall be encouraged to provide at least two candidates from among members in good standing for each office. The committee’s slate may include two categories of candidates: all current officers seeking office, and other candidates selected by the committee. In putting forward the slate, the committee should endeavor to recommend for president only candidates who have served at least one year on the executive board, preferably as an officer.
Section 4: A third category of candidates, those nominated from the membership, may be added to the slate.
Section 5: The nomination process shall include publication of the slate, as approved by the Executive Board; a formal notice in the Chapter’s January newsletter calling for nominations from the membership; and space provided for write-in candidates from the membership on the official ballot.
(ADD LANGUAGE TO CLARIFY VIA NEW ARTICLE ON COMMUNICATION)
Article Four- Elections
Section 1: A ballot listing all nominees shall be sent to all Chapter members no later than April 15. All ballots returned to the
Ccorresponding Ssecretary by May 1 shall be opened and tallied by a committee of tellers to be appointed by the Ppresident and approved by the Executive Board. A ballot shall be considered a chapter communication in writing, under Article Twelve, Section 2.
Section 2: A candidate receiving the majority of votes cast for an office shall be declared the winner. The Executive Board can authorize preferential or plurality voting for offices that have more than two candidates, and so indicate on the ballot.
NEW Section 3: The committee of tellers shall report the election results to the chairperson of the nominating committee, who shall be in charge of first notifying candidates on the ballot individually of those results and then the Executive Board, before the election results are communicated to the Chapter membership, according to chapter policy.
(ORIGINAL SECTION 3 BECOMES NEW SECTION 4)
34: Results of the Chapter election tally shall be published in communicated to the Chapter’s newsletter membership as soon as practical before the annual installation.
Article Five- Vacancies
(DELETE LANGUAGE THAT IS NOT CLEAR, ADD OR REPLACE LANGUAGE)
Section 1: Vacancies occurring among the members of the Executive Board shall be filled by election by the Executive Board, such officers or directors to serve only until the next annual installation. At the annual election immediately preceding said installation, the membership of the Chapter
will shall elect a member in good standing or members to serve the remainder of the unexpired portion of any vacated term.
Article Six- Duties of Officers
Section 1: The
Ppresident 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
Ppresident is absent or incapacitated, the Ppresident ‘s duties shall be assumed by the Vvice Ppresident. The Vvice Ppresident shall also serve as program coordinator for the Chapter.
Section 3: The
Rrecording Ssecretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Chapter and send records of the proceedings to members of the Executive Board.
Section 4: The
Ccorresponding Ssecretary 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
Ttreasurer shall receive all Chapter funds, keep them in one or more Ffederally insured depositories approved by the Executive Board, and pay out funds only by direction of the Executive Board President. The Ttreasurer shall make a written monthly report to the Executive Board of all disbursements, receipts and balances.
Article Seven- Executive Board
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.
Section 3: Any member of the Executive Board who has three consecutive unexcused absences from regularly scheduled monthly meetings of the Board shall be asked by the Chapter
Ppresident to resign from office. If this officer or director fails to resign, the Executive Board shall vote whether to remove the officer. If the Executive Board votes for removal, the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with Article Five of the By-Laws.
NEW Section 4: If the president and the vice president are both unable to carry out their duties, executive power shall flow to the following officers, in order: recording secretary, treasurer, corresponding secretary, immediate past president. The Executive Board may choose to appoint a new president from among the members of the board should the president’s incapacity become permanent.
Article Eight- Committees
Section 1: Committees shall be appointed by the
Ppresident. All committees, after appointment, shall be ratified by the Executive Board.
Section 2: The standing committees of the Chapter shall be: Awards, Banquet, Diversity, Ethics, Foreign Press, Freedom of Information, Hall of Fame, History, Membership, Newsletter, Professional Liaison, Project Watchdog, Publicity, SDX Foundation, and Student Liaison.
Section 3: Other, ad hoc, committees may be appointed, as required.
NEW Section 4: As circumstances warrant, some standing committees may not be operative, depending on the objectives of the Chapter president in charge or the will of the Executive Board when the committees are appointed.
Article Nine- Quorum
Section 1: At least 5
per cent percent of the Chapter membership shall constitute a quorum at any regularly scheduled meeting for which the Chapter has sentcommunicated a notice, at least ten working days prior to the meeting, to all members in good standing.
Section 2: Seven members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum for board meetings.
Article Ten- Order of Business
Section 1: The order of business at all Executive Board meetings and at Chapter business meetings shall be as follows: Meeting called to order, reading of minutes of previous meeting, reports of officers and committee chairpersons, unfinished business, new business and adjournment.
Article Eleven- Parliamentary Authority
Section 1: Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority of this Chapter.
(ADD NEW ARTICLE TWELVE)
NEW Article Twelve – Chapter Records and Communications
Section 1: Chapter records are documents or other forms by which chapter activities are recorded for future use, existing on paper or in digital or other forms. Records shall be maintained in one or more locations determined by the Executive Board, according to chapter policy.
Section 2: Chapter communications may be internal to the chapter, within the chapter board and with the national Society and its headquarters staff, and external to the chapter. When communication shall be in writing, the form of communication should be agreed upon by chapter leadership, including committee chairpersons as applicable, before the communication is transmitted, according to chapter policy.
(ORIGINAL ARTICLE TWELVE BECOMES NEW ARTICLE THIRTEEN)
TwelveThirteen – Amendments
Section 1: An amendment to these By-Laws may be proposed in writing at any regular or specially called meeting of the Chapter. Such proposed amendment must be signed by 2
per cent percent of the Chapter membership in good standing before being submitted to the meeting, and shall be read to the meeting by the presiding officer, providing notice of the proposal. After such notice, the proposed amendment and a ballot for voting on its adoption shall be sent communicated to all chapter members in good standing. The amendment shall be effective if approved by a majority of the Chapter members voting.
Section 2: An amendment to these By-Laws may be proposed in writing by two-thirds of the Executive Board
membership and shall be enacted if approved by a majority vote of those Chapter members in good standing attending the next regular meeting of the Chapter called for the purpose of voting on the amendment, provid inged that notice of said meeting and the full wording of the proposed amendment will have been mailed communicated to all Chapter members in good standing not less than 15 working days 60 days prior to the meeting, giving 30 days for comments and the following 30 days to redistribute the amendment with any further revisions noted from the comment period.
Section 3: Amendments to these By-Laws shall become effective immediately unless otherwise specified in the written proposal for amendment.
NEW Article Fourteen – Disbanding the Chapter
Upon the decision to terminate the Chapter, whether by dissolution, disbandment, revocation pursuant to the national Society’s By-laws or other means, any remaining chapter funds shall be distributed in the following order of succession: the SDX Foundation of Washington, D.C., the national Society for distribution to professional chapters in need, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation for programming funding of the national Society, or other such entity as determined at the time of dissolution by the Chapter’s Executive Board. In the absence of action within 60 days of the termination of the Chapter, the board of directors of the national Society may direct the distribution of the remaining chapter funds.