The New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is holding its annual election. Each paid chapter member has received an email with an election ballot. The voting period closes at the end of Monday, June 15.  If you are a paid member and you have not received a ballot, please contact chapter president Danielle McLean at [email protected]

While there are no contested races in this year’s election, candidates for the president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary positions have emerged. Take a look at the different candidates below:

President

Danielle McLean

Incumbent

My name is Danielle McLean, I am a reporter for the Somerville Journal newspaper, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee and since December 2013, have been president of the New England chapter of SPJ.

The last year and a half has been an exciting time for SPJNE. When I first became president we had one member on our leadership board. Today we have 11 members and are always recruiting more.

Last year we hosted a very successful SPJ region 1 conference at Boston University. The conference featured dozens of panels with Pulitzer Prize- and other award-winning journalists and keynote speakers including NPR’s Robin Young and legendary news anchor Carole Simpson.

We carried the momentum gained from the conference and have held numerous panels, events and workshops over the past year helping journalists network and gain new skills and knowledge on a range of topics including data journalism, ethics, and breaking stories on social media.

The chapter has also been extremely active in the fight for open government and public records reform. In March, I and Region 1 Director Rebecca Baker wrote a letter to New Hampshire legislators urging them to vote no on a bill that would allow government agencies to charge an upfront fee to access many public documents. Days later, the House tabled the bill indefinitely.

In Massachusetts this year, SPJNE joined the fight against rulings made by state Secretary William Galvin giving police departments new discretion to withhold public records that are deemed covered by CORI. Our statement was published in the Patriot Ledger and Boston Herald newspapers.

Most recently, we joined various media organizations, community organizers and legislatures in sponsoring a bill that would revise Massachusetts’ outdated and flawed public records laws. SPJNE board member Bill Marcus testified on behalf of the chapter at a recent legislative hearing advocating for the reform.

Reasons for running?

While a lot has been accomplished over the last year and a half, I feel there is a lot more to do. I want to continue advocating for open government in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. I want to continue bringing in new leaders, new active members, more programming, more networking opportunities and more chances for journalists to grow in their craft.

I have devoted myself to this chapter and am excited about its future. I would be honored and humbled if members of the board allow me to lead it another term.

Vice President

Jordan Frias

Hi. My name is Jordan Frias and I would like to serve as your next Vice President. Although I have only been a paid professional reporter for only a year, I feel that I am passionate about the industry and am willing to be an advocate for us journalists.

My background in journalism began during my undergraduate career at Providence College, where I received a bachelor’s in English. I then moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University’s School of Journalism where I made great connections and learned from many veteran journalists, including Steve Kurkjian of the Boston Globe and Jeff Howe from WIRED magazine. During that time, I freelanced for the Dorchester Reporter.

I am now a reporter for the largest weekly newspaper in Boston, the Boston Courant.
I spent my last year as a GateHouse employee in the town of Lexington, learning the ins and outs of community reporting.

As Vice President, I will be sure to remain active, engaged and accessible to all members. I will also strive to get things done in a timely fashion, so please vote for me in this election.

Reasons for running?

I would like to give more to our Society of Professional Journalist chapter and feel like I have the time and energy to commit to a higher position on the board. I also work well with others and work diligently to get things done.

Treasurer

Michael Fitzgerald

Incumbent

I started working as a journalist in college, writing pieces for a community paper. I’ve worked at Computerworld, was founding news editor at the prominent early Web site ZDNet, was executive editor, news at Red Herring and redherring.com, and a managing editor at TechTV. For the last 13 years I’ve been freelance, writing for more than 50 outlets, including The Boston Globe and Boston Globe Magazine, The Economist, Fast Company, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. My work has won a number of awards. I was a 2011 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard and a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.

I am currently the New England SPJ’s treasurer and also helped organize the SPJ Region 1 conference in 2014, which we hosted.

In addition to volunteering with New England SPJ, I’ve served SPJ as a board member, vice chair and chair of the Freelance Committee, then as the first President of the Freelance Community. I am currently an At-large board member of the Freelance Community and also on the SPJ’s Membership Task Force.

Reasons for running?

I am running for Treasurer because I want to continue to support our region’s efforts to develop skills for journalists at all stages of their careers.

I believe in the SPJ’s mission as a flagbearer for journalism and journalistic practices. I believe that as the largest U.S. journalist’s organization, it has a special role to play as journalism goes through exciting and daunting changes.

I would appreciate your vote.

Secretary

Aimee Ortiz

Aimee Ortiz is a Jersey-bred Boston journalist with passion for storytelling, good food, and a big travel itch. Her writing has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, USA TODAY College, Time Out Sydney, BDC wire, and Spare Change News. Her photography has been published on Time Out Sydney, BDCwire and Performer Magazine. She currently works as a Content Producer for BostonGlobe.com.
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