SPJ ‘to enlighten’ after re-igniting University chapter

Aaron Pabon / Staff Writer

Photo by Barbara Corbellini Duarte


In 1909, 10 students at DePauw University in Indiana, came together to start a journalistic fraternity known as Sigma Delta Chi.

The name was later changed to Society of Professional Journalists. The organization opened up more than 300 chapters across the United States.

The group was created to promote and defend the First Amendment, freedom of speech and the press, encourage high standards and ethics in journalism and to promote and support diversity in journalism.

The SPJ chapter at the University supports this same goal and wants to revamp the chapter to help students in their careers.

“The SPJ chapter has been here for a while, but there has not been a lot of interest,” said Chris Delboni, advisor of SPJ-FIU. “What we are trying to do now is to rebuild it.”

Delboni became the new advisor, after the previous advisor, Neil Reisner, associate professor in the department of journalism, stepped down.

Delboni recruited six students from journalism classes.

The main goal for SPJ-FIU, according to Delboni, is to act as an additional source of information and help for journalism students.

“It’s programmed to enlighten journalism and journalism students,” said Delboni.

In September, SPJ-FIU took part in the Excellence in Journalism Conference in Fort Lauderdale. There they attended workshops on various areas of journalism, such as preparing a resume, story idea sessions and understanding social media tools.

“It was eye opening for a lot of people,” said Michael Finch, a political science major and president of SPJ-FIU. “For a lot of people, it was their first convention.”

While at the conference, SPJ-FIU met with other SPJ chapter presidents to help give the University chapter the extra push needed to get it off the ground again.

On Sep. 26, SPJ-FIU, along with Student Programming Council, hosted the Hispanics in the Media Roundtable. The Roundtable speakers were Jorge Ottati of TeleFutura Network’s Contacto Deportivo, Professor Alejandro Alvarado,Telemundo director of the Hispanic Media Futures program, and Sun Sentinel Reporter Maria Muriel, who is a University alum.

The speakers discussed the differences of journalism in Hispanic countries and how journalism is currently conducted.

The next SPJ-FIU event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. Finch and Reisner, will be the speakers in the workshop for resume and internship application.

On Oct. 3, Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver met with SPJ-FIU and talked about her past experience with FIU-SPJ. Kopenhaver founded the organization on Oct. 16, 1991. She was also the group’s first advisor.

“We wanted to have a strong SPJ chapter because we knew how important it was going to be networked with professionals,” Kopenhaver said.

Kopenhaver will help SPJ-FIU with future events.

There is a fee of $37.50 to join SPJ’s national chapter. After paying the national fee, all local fees will be waived for those students that join SPJ during the fall semester.

Students from all majors can join the organization.

For more information on how to join SPJ, students can visit www.spj.org and www.facebook.com/spjfiu, or email the local chapter on spjfiuchapter@gmail.com.

Meetings are Wednesdays at 1 p.m. in Academic II room 303.

“We have a lot of ideas,” said Delboni, “And right now want to hear more from students to hear more ideas on how we can build it together.”

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