Society of Professional Journalists
P.O. Box 2221
Little Rock, Ark. 72203
(Revised Sept. 21, 2020)
The Society of Professional Journalists is the oldest, most broad-based journalism organization in the United States, founded in April 1909 as an honorary journalistic fraternity, Sigma Delta Chi. In 1916, SDX became a professional fraternity and, in 1960, reorganized itself from a fraternity into a professional society. It changed its name to the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi in 1973 and again to Society of Professional Journalists in 1988 to reflect its inclusiveness of all who work as journalists.
The Society, organized as a 501(c)6 tax-exempt professional association, has chapters throughout the country that operate as independent entities but adhere to the parent organization’s mission and purpose.
The Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was formally installed at Little Rock on December 15, 1961, as the Little Rock Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi. It became the Arkansas Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, upon vote of its members and approval of the SPJ, SDX National Board of Directors in July 1976. The chapter’s name now reflects the national organization’s 1988 name change.
We do hereby establish and ordain these Bylaws of the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to support the mission of the national Society of Professional Journalists. Like the national organization, the Arkansas Pro Chapter encourages the free flow of information as essential to American self-governance, seeks to protect the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and the press, stimulates high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism, inspires and educates current and future journalists through professional development, and encourages diversity and inclusion in the field of journalism.
NAME AND SCOPE
Section One: The name of this organization shall be: Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Section Two: Journalism Defined: Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities and the teaching or study of the methods used by journalists to inform and empower citizens with verified information about their society and government.
MOTTO AND WATCHWORDS
Section One: The motto of the Chapter shall be that of the Society’s: They Serve Best Who Serve the Truth.
Section Two: The Chapter’s watchwords shall be that of the Society’s: Talent, Truth, Energy.
Section One: The badge of the Chapter shall be the same as that prescribed for the Society.
Section One: All members of the Society of Professional Journalists in good standing with the national Society shall be eligible for membership in the Arkansas Pro Chapter.
Section Two: Members must pay current chapter and national dues in order to be eligible to hold membership, to vote, to hold office or to serve as a delegate to the national convention.
Section One: The chapter shall have as officers a President, a Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. These officers shall be elected annually and shall take office immediately.
Section Two: The President shall serve as the chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors, appoint members to chair all standing committees and establish other committees as necessary with the advice and consent of the board.
Section Three: The Vice President shall fulfill the President’s duties in case of the President’s temporary absence or incapacity, in addition to any other duties imposed by the bylaws or by decision of the board. In the event of the death, resignation or removal of the President, the Vice President shall assume the.presidency, and a new Vice President shall be elected by the board of directors.
Section Four: The Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all chapter and Board of Directors meetings, convey information to members about the chapter and its activities in a regular and timely manner, be formal custodian of all chapter records, and maintain, in conjunction with the Treasurer, membership records in good order.
In addition, the Secretary shall make regular reports to the Society’s magazine, Quill, or the appropriate national staff member about chapter activities, in addition to any other duties assigned by the chapter President.
Section Five: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all chapter funds, collecting receipts and making disbursements at the direction of the Board. In conjunction with the chapter Secretary, the Treasurer shall serve dues notices and collect dues and other assessments.
Section Six: The Board of Directors may at any time consolidate, separate or redefine the offices of Secretary and Treasurer. If the offices are consolidated, the board shall have one more appointive director.
Section Seven: The Chapter shall have a standing Freedom of Information Committee that shall carry out the Chapter’s mission of promoting freedom of speech and press and the free flow of information. The President is also authorized to appoint and assign duties to special committees which the President deems necessary to study, investigate or otherwise function in fields that concern the Society, journalists or journalism.
Section Eight: The Chapter shall submit an annual report to national headquarters in which it reviews its year’s activities and accomplishments. The report shall be submitted under the Society’s rules and prior to the National Convention and shall be made available to any Chapter member upon request.
Section Nine: The financial records of the Chapter and minutes of all meetings shall be open for inspection to members in good standing. Requests for
inspection shall be made to the custodian of such records and shall be made available, if practical, at the next Chapter or Board meeting.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section One: The Board of Directors shall be composed of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer and seven directors elected annually by the Chapter members. The immediate past president may serve as either a non-voting member or may run for another voting position on the board after his or her term expires.
Section Two: Any vacancy in the Board of Directors shall be filled by vote of the remaining members of the Board. The member so elected shall serve until the next annual election.
Section Three: The Board shall meet regularly throughout the year to transact business for the Chapter. The Board can take binding action by email or conference call if circumstances, in the Board’s opinion, require it.
Section Four: The Board of Directors shall be responsible for these basic functions: (1) Membership and attendance; (2) Chapter meetings and events; (3) Professional programs; (4) Planning; (5) Convention representatives; and (6) Cooperation with national Headquarters and other SPJ chapters.
Section One: Officers and directors shall be elected by majority vote of the qualified members in attendance at a Chapter meeting before July 1. They shall take office July 1 and serve one-year terms or until their successors are elected and installed.
Section Two: A nominating committee, consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer shall nominate candidates for the Board of Directors at least 10 days before an election, in writing or via email to the membership.
Section Three: Candidates shall be nominated on the floor of a Chapter meeting, with the nominating committee’s nominations for officers announced first. The floor shall then be opened for other nominations for officers, followed by election of officers.
Section Four: If an officer election is contested, or if there are more nominees for director than available board seats, that election shall be held by
secret ballot. The election shall be supervised by the Secretary or, if the Secretary Is a candidate for a contested office, by a non-candidate appointed by the presiding officer.
Uncontested elections shall be by voice vote.
Section One: National membership fees shall be that amount determined by the national organization. A person who has not paid their national dues cannot be considered a member of the Chapter.
Section Two: Chapter dues shalI be determined by the membership upon recommendation of the Board of Directors and payable by June 30 of each year. The board has the authority, by a majority vote, to waive or reduce chapter dues for any member. ·
AMENDMENT AND PROCEDURE
Section One: These Bylaws may be amended and become effective immediately, unless otherwise specified, in the following manner:
● By a majority of votes cast in a Chapter meeting, provided that the proposal to amend the bylaws and the exact wording of the proposed amendment shall be made available to all chapter members not less than 15 days prior to the vote.
● Or by a majority vote cast in a Chapter meeting, provided that the proposed amendment was recommended by the President and approved by a majority of the Board and a copy of which shall have been made available to all chapter members not less than 7 days prior to the vote.
Section Two: The Board of Directors shall have the authority to make minor edits or technical corrections to the Bylaws at any time. Members shall be notified of any edits or changes to the Bylaws approved by the Board within 15 days of the change.
Section Three: “Robert’s Rules of Order” shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these Bylaws. ·
Section One: The Board shall hold monthly meetings.
Section Two: The Board shall endeavor to hold monthly Chapter meetings and events, except when the Board determines that the likelihood of low attendance or other circumstances would make a meeting non-beneficial to the Chapter.
Section Three: The Board shall call Chapter meetings with written notice to members, such as by newsletter, email or website, at least five days before such a meeting. Action taken at any Chapter meeting called with less notice shall be of no force and effect.
Section Four: All persons Invited to speak at chapter meetings and events shall be informed in advance that their remarks to those assembled shall be considered public and on the record. Should a speaker ask to speak off the record, the presiding officer shall again serve notice that all remarks are on the record.
Section Five: This being an association of journalists, no Chapter or Board meeting may be closed to the public except for reasons of safety or for discussions of legal matters on advice of counsel.
Section Six: The Board may impose a reasonable fee for any event or meeting, including meal, drink and service charges. Members attending such events or meetings shall be obligated to pay the fee unless payment is waived by the Board of Directors.