With a new board of directors soon to take leadership, members are eager to see a change in the organization.
Journalist Nicolle Praino has been deeply involved with SPJ. She’s held multiple positions within the organization including chair for the nominations committee in 2022, mentor for the SPJ Student News Team in 2022, and chair for the awards and honors committee in 2023.
Looking ahead, Praino is poised to step into a much bigger role in SPJ.
According to Praino’s campaign website, growth, security, and transformation are her top three goals, which she hopes to incorporate if she gets elected to be SPJ’s Vice President.
After one year in office the Vice President automatically becomes SPJ President.
Praino said conversations need to happen that lead to change within the organization.
“I want growth for our members and transformation for the industry,” Praino said.
According to Praino, she cannot promise transformation and growth but she promises to open conversations to begin to make transformation and growth happen.
Praino is currently in her second term serving as president of the Georgia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has developed a one-on-one coaching program for journalists struggling to find a work-life balance.
Running against Praino is SPJ’s current national director-at-large, Emily Bloch.
Bloch is a former SPJ President for the Florida chapter and is hoping to bring change into the organization if she gets elected to be SPJ’s Vice President.
She has also held various positions within the organization such as recipient for the Howard Dublin award in 2020, a member of the executive director committee search in 2017, and community coordinator in 2016.
According to Bloch, she has been involved in SPJ ever since she was in college. She was, and continues to be, heavily involved in feeding young journalists skills to become better reporters.
On her campaign website, Bloch said she does not track her early involvement in SPJ to the national chapter, rather her local chapter, who put together hands-on events and helped her build trust in the organization.
According to Bloch, SPJ needs to work on reaching out more to young journalists before they turn away from SPJ and to other organizations for support.
“I really want to drill down on programming,” Bloch said.
When Bloch was President of the Florida Pro chapter, programming was a priority.
“We would have at least two programs a month, sometimes more … every single month, so at least 24 programs a year or more, and a lot of those programs ended up scaling nationally,” Bloch said.
The programs that escalated to the national level included The Fake News Game Show, Muslimedia, Race and Gender Hotline, and also an exercise for student journalists and professionals, which involved interviewing a zombie.
“All of these hands-on programs taught student journalists and professional journalists how to better themselves and better their craft,” Bloch said.
The SPJ elections are currently underway and voting is open until Saturday, September 30th at 3PM PT. SPJ members can vote through the election website.