By Lizzie Wilcox
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is the oldest organization representing journalists in the United States. Joseph B. Treaster, professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Management, has recently revamped the University of Miami’s chapter of SPJ and is the group's adviser.
“The Society of Professional Journalists at the University of Miami is focused on getting jobs and internships for its members,” Treaster said.
With this new focus, SPJ at UM now has at least 85 members, according to Treaster. At the organization’s last meeting in November, students elected an executive board. Chelsea Lovell, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and public relations, was elected as vice president. Lovell sees this as the chance to learn how to network and find an internship.
“What does networking even mean? How do I do that? How do I get that opportunity? How do I get my foot in the door? How do I even know who I’m supposed to be talking to?” she asked. “This is a great opportunity to learn.”
Director of Social Media Isabella Vaccaro, a freshman in the School of Communication honors program, also joined the organization in hopes of finding an internship.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for anyone in the communications field … to get internships and to get connected with professionals in the field,” Vaccaro said.
She has created a logo for the club and is working on a design for its Facebook page.
“I think the biggest thing is building up our social media presence, starting to post on a regular basis, and post the special events that we’re going to be having with these professionals in the field that will hopefully attract people to the meetings,” Vaccaro said.
The main goal of the SPJ is to connect recruiters with students.
“They are as hungry for our people as we’re hungry to work for them,” Treaster said. “It’s so much fun bringing everybody together.”
There will be professionals from various communications fields at the meetings who will discuss their careers and then meet with students.
“I want this to be an energetic, enthusiastic, lively organization that members are thrilled to be a part of,” Treaster said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be attended by Ed McCullough, a former foreign correspondent around the world and director of sales for Latin America for the Associated Press. He will discuss what it takes to get hired at places like the AP, Reuters, and The New York Times. McCullough will also announce a new internship opportunity and conduct the first round of interviews at the meeting.
“We definitely just want to make this something the university can be proud of, something the students want to be a part of,” Lovell said.
For updates and information, follow SPJ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @spjumiami.
The next SPJ meeting is on Feb 13 at 7 p.m. at the Shalala Student Activities Center, East Ballroom. Food and refreshments will be served.