Journalism Orgs Urged to “Stand Together, or Hang Separately”

Sep 22, 2014

Credit Society of Professional Journalists

As the nature of our industry rapidly evolves, what does the future hold for journalism organizations, like Public Radio News Directors Incorporated?  That’s a question we’re asking ourselves as we take a very hard look at PRNDI’s bylaws.  

PRNDI is not alone in contemplating its future. Many journalism organizations are faced with similar issues.  That’s why 19 organizations, including PRNDI, got together for a leadership summit at this year’s Excellence in Journalism Conference in Nashville, TN. The session was led by the American Copy Editors Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. We talked about the challenges our organizations face and what we might be able to do collectively to advocate for journalists and advance quality journalism.

A survey of our groups conducted prior to our meeting revealed that revenue was the biggest area of concern.  Conferences and membership dues were among the most important sources of revenue for journalism organizations. Among the other challenges that surfaced in the survey were member engagement, the demands of technology and lack of full-time staff. 

When it comes to strengths, the groups listed training, a strong brand with a great history, and a well-regarded annual contest. 

The survey also showed that our groups are very interested in working together in a number of areas, including conferences, training, grant applications, public relations and social media use. We used our time together in Nashville to further discuss those findings and start to put together an action plan.

“For too long journalism organizations have felt competitive, but let’s work together,” said David Cullier, Immediate Past President of the Society of Professional Journalists. “We have to stand together or we all will surely hang separately,” he said.

So what happens next? 

The conversation will continue. The Society of Professional Journalists has volunteered to set up a listserv.  This will allow our organizations to share information, ask each other questions and alert each other to advocacy actions we might want to lend our names to. We’ll also share mission statements to better understand each other’s strengths and where we could tap each other for expertise. This could help avoid a duplication of services and allow our organizations to devote our limited time and resources to other matters. We’ve also agreed to share our conference dates, and communicate what we might be able to offer to each other, such as space at conference venues for trainings and such.  

Onward and upward!

These are the organizations involved in the discussion: 

  • American Copy Editors Society
American Society of Business Press Editors

  • American Society of News Editors

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Associated Press Media Editors
Investigative Reporters and Editors

  • Native American Journalists Association
National Association of Black Journalists

  • National Association of Hispanic Journalists

  • Online News Association

  • Organization of News Ombudsmen

  • Radio Television Digital News Association

  • Religion Newswriters Association
Society of American Business Writers and Editors

  • Society for News Design

  • Society for Professional Journalists

  • Public Radio News Directors Inc.

  • Poynter Institute