Society of Professional Journalists at WP


Courtesy of Caroline Pierce

Maria Zuniga, Features Editor

Eager print and broadcast journalism students here at William Paterson University have started the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). SPJ is a national organization of journalists that offers scholarships, resume workshops, and networking events. Over the summer the Communication Department strategically selected SPJ’s 11 founding members. Since the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester the SPJ founding members along with Dr. Nick Hirshon, professor of communication and faculty adviser to the SPJ chapter, have been working hard to get the chapter running.

“Forming an SPJ chapter is one of the best ways to strengthen the journalism culture on a campus. By uniting students of all journalistic interest—print, broadcast, online, and social media—the campus chapters cultivate an atmosphere of inclusion,” said Hirshon. “And they encourage journalism students to think about their education more holistically, not just about what happens in the classroom, but about continuing conversations about the news industry in the hallways and the dorms.”

The founding members hope to create an active journalism environment on campus. They are using all of their skills to collaborate and ensure the success of the chapter.  The chapter is interested in dedicated journalism students who want to work towards achieving SPJ goals and furthering their journalism career.

“My immediate goal as a president is to increase the number of members. However, by the end of the year I would like to establish a community within SPJ. This way every member will network with one another. The goal is to create a network that will help everyone in their future careers,” said Maynor Castillo president of the SPJ chapter and broadcast journalism student. “Finally, I want members of SPJ to also create networks outside of campus. The ultimate goal is to hold events that will give our members the opportunity to network with professionals working on the field of communication’s.”

The first step in getting involved is a guest speaker series called the Reality Check: Insight from the Insiders. The chapter also plans to hold movie nights with a journalism theme. In addition the SPJ chapter looks forward to doing community service work in Wayne. SPJ is interested in volunteering at local soup kitchens and visiting the local high schools to hold journalism workshops.

The first event the SPJ chapter organized with the support of the Communication Department was the guest speaker series, which has been a success. The speaker series ran the first Wednesday of each month starting September. The first speaker was former Newsday reporter Sarah Armaghan and the second speaker was staff writer for amNewYork Lisa Colangelo. Students are encouraged to attend these lectures to learn the do’s and don’t about the field. The SPJ hopes to continue the guest speaker series every semester. They are currently looking into bringing professionals from all fields of communications to appeal to all students.

“The Reality Check is really helpful for students because it brings professionals in to show what our future professions are really like,” said Yulliet Ruiz, a print journalism and political science major student at William Paterson University. “It was very informative and I like that we could ask questions.”

Courtesy of SPJ

The chapter will be holding a bake sale Oct.19 during common hour, to begin fundraising. An upcoming event to attend is SPJ’s screening of the award-winning movie Spotlight outdoors, on Oct.25 at 7 p.m. at Hobart Hall. On Nov.1 the SPJ will have the last speaker of the Reality Check, Anthony DelMundo a photographer for the New York Daily News at 6 p.m. in the Martini Room, Hobart Hall. Come out to these events and see what SPJ is all about!