The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Society of Professional Journalists returns to Aggieland

The+Society+of+Professional+Journalists+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+chapter+from+1958.+The+national+organization+is+now+being+reinstated+at+A%26amp%3BM.
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The Society of Professional Journalists Texas A&M chapter from 1958. The national organization is now being reinstated at A&M.

As journalism faces challenges and changes in today’s society, Texas A&M students and instructors are making efforts to better prepare students for careers in the field by bringing back the A&M chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
A national organization established to ensure the protection of the First Amendment, SPJ currently supports over 7,500 members in the pursuit of quality, ethical journalism. The A&M student chapter hopes to better connect students with a passion for journalism and prepare them for careers in the profession. The newly revived chapter held its first meeting on Nov. 13.
Associate instructional professor Dale Rice serves as A&M’s SPJ adviser. A writer and editor for 35 years, Rice retired and came to A&M to teach 11 years ago. According to Rice, in a political climate where the free press is under attack, it is encouraging to see SPJ growing.
“One of the great things about Texas A&M is the core values at the heart of the education here and they actually really lineup so well with journalistic ethics,” Rice said.
Nineteen students attended the chapter’s first meeting where the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and program chair were elected.
“I was incredibly excited in our first organizational meeting this week,” Rice said. “I think that was an incredible initial turnout and I think that everyone who was there was really pleased.”
University studies freshman Lauren Devenzio was voted the Society of Professional Journalists’ president at Tuesday’s meeting. Devenzio has been involved in journalism since her freshman year in high school.
“I’m really passionate about taking really complicated issues and breaking them down so that everyday people who really don’t follow the news as much can understand the world around them and why it impacts them,” Devenzio said. “That and just giving a voice to the voiceless as a whole is what really drives me.”
According to Devenzio, journalism is important as a foundation of democracy. Through her position as SPJ chapter president, Devenzio hopes to spark other students’ interest in pursuing journalism as well.
“I definitely want to emphasise through SPJ protecting student journalists, because I feel like right now people kind of see it as a profession under attack,” Devenzio said. “ [I want to] really emphasize the importance and … make people realize why we need [journalism] so much.”
According to Rice, he sent emails to students pursuing majors and minors in journalism as well as communication majors to encouraged them to enroll in the organization. University studies freshman Collin Koenig decided to get involved with SPJ because he believes the organization will help him follow his passion to express himself to a public audience and present accurate and relevant information.
“Reviving SPJ is an important first step, but it’s more important for students to realize how much of an impact journalism has and the overall news media has on our daily outlook,” Koenig said. “You always see different opinions and facts through articles that a student reads either in class or on personal time. I would love to see active participation from students on campus and help students to realize how important news journalism is, and how that can affect their daily news intake.”
According to Devenzio, the organization will host workshops to improve students’ skills, focusing on writing and interviewing abilities.
“Truth and integrity is what [the journalism profession] stands on, just real honest reporting and keeping ethics in check,” Devenzio said. “I’m hoping that through mastering the craft of journalism we can create well-rounded journalists throughout the world.”

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