SHSU Society of Professional Journalists Recognized Nationally

SHSU Society of Professional Journalists Recognized Nationally

March 24, 2023

by Nifemi Bola

CAM Media Contact: Jackie Swan

The SHSU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) was named regional campus honoree by the national SPJ organization for two of the programs it held during the 2021–2022 academic year.

The SPJ organization, founded in 1909 by Sigma Delta Chi, focuses on professional development, the First Amendment, and journalism ethics through colleges and professional chapters nationwide.

Leading the SHSU chapter are assistant professors Ryan Broussard and Christopher Toula in the Department of Mass Communication. The two programs presented were a presentation by the executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation, Kelley Shannon, and a bingo game that tested students’ knowledge of the First Amendment.

SHSU Society of Professional Journalists Group Photo
SHSU Society of Professional Journalists group photo. From left: D Ettra Johnson, Jessica Maldonado, Thomas Chambers, Melissa Meseljevic, Justin Hardcastle, Dr. Ryan Broussard (in back), Daniel Robinson, Jordan Kiefer, and Dr. Chris Toula. Photo by Tracy Downey.

“Kelley Shannon has graciously talked to my classes and our chapter before, and the students always come away with a better understanding of public records,” said Dr. Broussard.  “She is very knowledgeable about both federal and state public records laws and the state’s open meetings law, and she is great about communicating that info in a way that students can easily digest.”  

Regarding the First Amendment bingo game, Dr. Broussard and Dr. Toula gave the chapter free will to develop their own ideas for the program.

“I tell the officers every year that I want them to steer the ship and that Dr. Toula and I are here for advice if they need help. I want them to come up with their own ideas and decide what they want to get out of the chapter,” Dr. Broussard said.

“Being named honoree tells me that we are doing right by our students, that we are providing a good service to our students,” said Dr. Broussard. “It also raises the bar for us in the future, so we must continue putting on quality programming.”

Moving forward, the organization hopes to increase its presence on campus and grow as a chapter.

“Journalism is vital to so many fields in the humanities, social sciences, and even the physical sciences,” Dr. Toula said. “We also screen fiction and documentary films that help students explore journalism in new and interesting ways. Connecting our students to professional networks and exploring journalism in depth is what we do.”

Currently-enrolled students interested in joining the SPJ organization can find more information here.