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News flash! Young journalists network through SPJ

News flash! Young journalists network through SPJ

The 2018-19 executive board of SPJ from left to right; Danielle Zulkosky, Courtney Ingalls, Lauren Brill and Danielle Koscik.

Photo Courtesy of Courtney Ingalls

With plans for collaboration and more networking events, Hofstra’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is working tirelessly to increase membership and expand the club’s presence on campus.

“We’re kind of revamping the club right now because ... people kind of forgot about it and didn’t really come to the meetings,” said Lauren Brill, the vice president of Hofstra’s chapter of SPJ and a junior journalism major. “You can get some great benefits from it, but people just don’t know about it – a lot of times I mention it and people don’t even realize that it’s an actual thing,” she said. 

Founded in 1909, SPJ is a national organization and “is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior,” according to the group’s website.

According to Brill, Hofstra’s chapter of SPJ has seen issues in recent years with getting people to join – and for the people that do join, the group has had difficulty getting them to attend club meetings.

“I feel like before [the current executive board] got to Hofstra, [SPJ] was popular and then it kind of died down, so we want to bring it back up,” Brill said.

While there is no cost to become a member of Hofstra’s chapter of SPJ, the national organization has multiple membership plans that vary in price. The current rate for a college student is $37.50 a year – or, if joining as a freshman or sophomore in college, $100 for the next four years.

Along with Brill, the executive board for Hofstra’s chapter of SPJ consists of three other members: Courtney Ingalls, the president and a junior journalism major, Danielle Koscik, the treasurer and a junior journalism major and Annemarie LePard, SPJ secretary, a sophomore journalism major and assistant news editor for The Hofstra Chronicle.

The club hosts events with the intention of providing networking opportunities and boosting the professional profiles of journalism students.

“I think the one that’s the most successful would probably be our headshot event,” Ingalls said. “We get photographers to come and each student pays $5 to get their headshots taken – they can use those professionally on LinkedIn or on resumes. We usually do it once in the fall; it attracts a lot of students because headshots are usually really expensive so being able to only pay $5 and get a decent headshot is something that is popular with a lot of people.”

The executive board is already planning new ways to try to increase club membership.

Brill said they are planning a “social media event” where they will teach students how to maintain a professional social media account and use it for journalistic purposes.

Ingalls said the club will try to collaborate with other organizations in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication to increase their reach among journalism students. They plan to join forces with Hofstra Today to give students who want to work in broadcasting the opportunity to read off of a teleprompter on-camera and create material for their reels.

Any Hofstra student can come to SPJ’s events – even if they are not club members or journalism majors. There is no rule that bars students who are not journalism majors from becoming SPJ members, either.

“I would say [if you’re] a [public relations] major, then it’s definitely a good idea to join SPJ because with a [public relations] major, you can get into journalism as well and vice versa – [SPJ] would probably look good on an English major’s resume as well,” Koscik said. “Anyone can come get a headshot; anyone can come to our workshops; anyone can come to our panels – we’re very open to anyone coming to our events.”

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