The University of Connecticut’s new Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is part of a national society that is known for its code of ethics encouraged for all journalists as they conduct their work. The society provides opportunities for journalists to obtain and learn journalism skills while networking in the field.
Marie Shanahan, an associate professor and head of the department of journalism, is the advisor for the new chapter of SPJ here at the University of Connecticut. Shanahan said she feels that, since UConn does not have a chapter, students are missing out. She talked a little about why the chapter is opening up here at UConn and shared information about the organization.
“It is not quite here yet, but it is coming soon,” Shanahan said.
“i am a member of spj and a member of a number of other professional journalists organizations. it is a really wonderful tool for networking, for training, for entering awards, for getting your food in the door, for job opportunities.”Marie Shanahan
Since last spring, Shanahan said she has been trying to start a student chapter of SPJ here at UConn. Currently, there are several chapters in existence at universities in Connecticut, including both such as in Central Connecticut State University and Southern Connecticut State University.
“I am a member of SPJ and a member of a number of other professional journalists organizations. It is a really wonderful tool for networking, for training, for entering awards, for getting your foot in the door, for job opportunities,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan said it is an opportunity for journalism majors and others interested in journalism to network with students while providing a social opportunity to help students get to know each other.
“You don’t need to be a journalism major to be a member of SPJ,” and the organization is welcoming of all people and majors here on campus,” Shanahan said.
“We are applying to be a student chapter to get journalists more networking opportunities but also an opportunity to interact with each other, like journalism majors on campus,” said Hudson Kamphausen, a journalism major pursuing an urban studies minor and president of the SPJ’s student chapter.
“we are applying to be a student chapter to get journalists more networking opportunities but also an opportunity to interact with each other, like journalism majors on campus.”Hudson Kamphausen
Kamphausen said the chapter is planning to have workshops, networking conferences, guest speakers and more to build skills such as reporting and writing.
“We are off the ground in the next couple semesters, it would be a really good asset for journalism majors at UConn going forward,” Kamphausen said.
According to Kamphausen, there are about seven members of the chapter currently, including a graduate assistant, and those seven students are all journalism majors.
“If you have an interest in journalism, reporting or writing, we would love to have you,” Kamphausen said.
There are flyers up around campus, including in Oak Hall where the journalism department is currently. Kamphausen said more flyers are going to be put up in other areas on campus.
Kamphausen also said he wants a social media presence to make the organization visible to the student body.
“Anyone who has an interest in the subject matter and wants to build the skills to do so,” should join the society, Kamphausen said.