SPJ concluded its business meeting on Saturday evening passing a bylaw change and several resolutions.
A bylaw change that called for shrinking the board of directors from 23 positions to nine passed with 86 yeas and 14 nays after a contentious debate by delegates. The transition will take place over two years. The new board members who were elected today will serve their entire term.
Those who opposed the bylaw change raised concerns that shrinking the board to nine members would decrease the chance of having a diverse board.
“We need a voice at the table,” said Rebecca Aguilar of the Fort Worth Professional Chapter, citing lack of diverse representation at the regional level. “Looking at the new board, we see that some voices are not even on the board.”
Irwin Gratz, a member of the SPJ Governance Task Force, was an advocate of the bylaw change.
“I appreciate that many of us do desire representation on SPJ’s governing council, but I’m going to make a point that I don’t think the standing size of the board is going to accomplish that,” he said.
The amendment to the bylaw change proposed by the Press Club of Long Island calling for some regional representation to remain intact did not pass with 76 nays and 27 yeas.
The Resolutions Committee unanimously passed Resolutions No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 without discussion.
After much discussion, Resolution No. 2, which called on journalists to oppose government public information officers and mandated clearance culture, passed with the exclusion of a single paragraph that was tabled until the next SPJ national conference in 2018.