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Meet the Members of Minnesota State Mankato’s SPJ

The Members of SPJ: Mankato Chapter

Minnesota State University, Mankato has a student organization for everyone. Whether you’re interested in Gender Studies, protecting animal rights, or just want to learn about journalism, there is a club for you. The Society of Professional Journalists is precisely what its name entails, a group for anyone who is interested in journalism, broadcasting, or production. More specifically:

“The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior…SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 7,500 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.”

The Mankato chapter of the SPJ states that their purpose is to endorse the professional standards of journalism in all media forms and to support the democratic ideal of a free flow of information, and The Mankato chapter has upheld these standards in their meetings and events. So far, the group has had a panel on media bias and intersectional representation in the media had Google lab training to help prepare students for the work force and has gone on numerous tours of media outlets. The student organization takes into account the aspirations of each of its members and attempts to tour places that interest everyone.

A few members of the Society of Professional Journalists – Mankato chapter took time out of their days to answer the following questions:

1. Name, major/minor/emphasis, year in school 2. Dream job and favorite journalist/media professional? 3. What made you want to join SPJ? 4. What is your favorite thing that we’ve done so far? 5. What do you think is the purpose of SPJ? 6. What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining?

Grace Doyle 

I’m a senior graduating in May! My majors are Mass Media with an emphasis on journalism and GWS with an emphasis on Sexual assault and domestic violence. I’d like to either report on politics or write for a feminist publication like Ms. Magazine Or Bitch Media. Favorite media professional would have to be Jessica Williams because she’s a brilliant reporter and comedian and I’m obsessed with political satire.I joined SPJ because I wanted to explore my options in the media profession and i was informed of all the resources this organization provides. My favorite thing that we’ve done was the Internship panel because it was exclusive to SPJ members and hearing from so many Media professionals was a valuable experience. SPJ is there to shape future Journalists and other Media professionals, to be ethical and to want to serve the people. People should join because we have valued resources and opportunities, like tours, scholarships and internships, and we as a community support and inspire each other to be successful.

Malaya Saenlouangraj 

I’m a junior with a mass media major and film and media studies minor. My dream job would be talk-show host, and my favorite media professional is Professor Rachael Hanel. I joined SPJ because it had many great opportunities for what I wanted to do and you can be in it forever. My favorite thing we’ve have done so far is tour WCCO, KEYC, and MPR. I think the purpose of SPJ is to bring journalists together and share knowledge and learn from each other. I would tell someone to join SPJ because there are many great opportunities such as tours, scholarships, awards, and growing as a journalist.

Tim Starman

My major is film and media studies. My dream job would be to make movies with Disney in California. I joined SPJ because I wanted to learn more about the media/news side of my major, and meet new people. Visiting mpr has been my favorite part so far. My fav prof is doctor Amy Lauters. The purpose of spj is to get journalists together, keep true to the first amendment and challenge the establishment while allowing networking beyond school.

Easton Smiskey 

My name is Easton Smiskey and my major is mass media and my minor is French. I am a sophomore and my dream job would either be doing hockey broadcast in Canada or doing broadcast around the country to bring awareness to political and social issues. The journalist that I most look up to is either Al Michaels for his great sports broadcasting or Walter Conkwright for his pursuit of truth and his ongoing honesty. I joined us PJ to learn more about journalism and to keep honesty and unbiased media life. My favorite thing that we’ve done so far is our discussions about bias in the media as well as touring news stations. I think the purpose of spj is to keep honesty and media and to produce a great team of news workers in the future. Anyone who is interested in SPJ should know that the future is in our hands of young journalist and it’s great for any mass media major.

Symone Kimbrough 

I’m a third year Mass Media major, Art Studio minor. My dream job is to be a successful news source and my favorite journalist/media person is my friend Maya Clark who has her own magazine called Culture Week, but at this school mine would be Amy Lauters. I joined SPJ to learn more on the background of media outlets. The purpose of SPJ is to understand how important professionalism, honesty, and the first amendment is to journalism. To someone who is interested in joining: join if you’re able because you will learn things you might not have known about journalism/media. My favorite thing that we’ve done so far is having the opportunity to tour MPR and WCCO news even though I was unable to attend.

Gabe Hewitt 

I’m a mass media/communication studies major in my 5th year. My dream job is to be a beat reporter for a prestigious newspaper or radio station. I’ve been on a This American Life kick recently, so Ira Glass has gotta be my favorite journalist right now. I wanted to join SPJ because I wanted to learn more about what it means to be a media professional. My favorite thing we’ve done so far would be either the KEYC or MPR tour. You got a sense of how media works on both a small and larger scale with these tours. The purpose of SPJ is to educate future media professionals and the public about the values of journalism. It’s a really rewarding experience. I can’t think of too many other student organizations that go on tours like we do to potential future employers.

As a member of SPJ myself, I can vouch for the passion and excitement of this group. We take the time to learn about all that we can regarding media. Various members bring in professionals to talk to us and make presentations on hot-button topics in the media. I have never met a more amazing group of people and encourage anyone interested in media to join SPJ in the upcoming school year.

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