Society of Professional Journalists

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The Society of Professional Journalists is a U.S.-based group which states on its website that "the perpetuation of a free press is the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty." [1]

SPJ Deal with PR Firm

The Society of Professional Journalists is moving ahead on a joint venture with Market Wire, a PR industry firm that, among other services, distributes news releases. Columnist Michael Miner of the Chicago Reader exposed the deal last fall. [2] For a $75,000 "curriculum development fee," Market Wire has exclusive rights for one year to present to PR professionals an SPJ-drafted program to "help people understand the tenets of responsible journalism and the profound importance of a free press." Miner notes that the original September 2006 discussion within SPJ focused on educating Market Wire's clients about "what journalists want and need" for their articles. SPJ's board (minus four dissenters) approved a deal in November reframing the relationship as one of "curriculum development," rather than helping Market Wire's paying clients receive valuable advice from journalists on how to better pitch them stories. SPJ ethics committee chair Gary Hill is "braced for a sour reaction from some of the pricklier members of his ethics committee," reports Miner.


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