SPJ approves Baruch chapter

Judah Duke

The Society of Professional Journalists voted to approve a new chapter at Baruch College on April 22.

Following a semester-long effort led by students at The Ticker and staff from the journalism and the writing professions department, the charter marked the beginning of the organization’s representation at Baruch.

“I’m thrilled that Baruch’s journalism students have taken the initiative to form a chapter of SPJ,” professor Emily Johnson, the chapter’s faculty advisor, said in an email statement. “Now that we’ve been formally recognized, we look forward to getting up and running with events and workshops.”

The SPJ’s members are involved in journalism education and advocacy across the country. According to its website, it has been an American institution for over a hundred years. After attending an event hosted by New York’s SPJ chapter called the Deadline Club last semester, Ticker Editor-in-Chief Amanda Salazar and News Editor Emanuela Gallo were inspired to include Baruch students.

Students at The Ticker began working on the chapter’s constitution and other necessary documents last fall. The Journalism Department approved the plan to create a chapter toward the end of the fall 2021 semester.

“The student chapters are responsible for hosting journalism-themed events, as well as making sure journalism is something that’s being brought up on campus,” Salazar said.

Unlike other clubs at Baruch, the SPJ chapter will fall under the purview of the Journalism Department.

Membership offers students interested in a career in journalism a better idea of what it means to enter the field. It aims to attract students in hopes of stimulating the journalistic culture on campus.

Members can then take part in the organization’s activities throughout the year, which include networking and professional development events, award assemblies and scholarships for journalism students.

The students responsible for founding the chapter said the new SPJ chapter will echo the missions of Baruch as a whole.

“The whole goal of Baruch college is to help students make it in the real world,” Salazar said. “SPJ has the ability to help with that, because we’ll be able to connect with professionals in the journalism field.”

In an interview with Dani Heba, a copy editor and next year’s sports editor of The Ticker, he said journalistic integrity and ethics would be instrumental in educating members.

“The SPJ educates you on how to be a good journalist, how to be an ethical journalist, what are the best practices,” Heba said.

Along with career development and guidance, board members hope to foster community and “bring people together, under a common interest,” Heba said.

He and Salazar discussed how the chapter may also end up serving a dual purpose. The founders envisioned the chapter facilitating the transition from online engagement to in-person meetings.

“Above all, it would bring a kind of community, especially with things having gone online and a lot of journalism having shifted to digital modes,” Heba said.

Salazar and Heba were two students in the group who started planning the chapter last fall and will both take positions on the board as president and vice-president, respectively.

The other board members include Secretary Caryl Anne Francia, Treasurer Maya DemchakGottlieb and Communications Director Mia Gindis.

“We hope this new chapter will help us foster a robust community of student journalists,”

Johnson said. “It is already opening doors, as incoming chapter president Dani Heba has been invited to participate in SPJ’s Student Leadership Institute in Indiana this summer.”

Editor’s Note: Amanda Salazar, Emanuela Gallo and Caryl Anne Francia, mentioned above, are members of the Ticker editorial board. Dani Heba and Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, mentioned above, are Ticker copyeditors. Mia Gindis, mentioned above, is a Ticker writer.