This week, we filed our 2020-21 annual report with SPJ national headquarters — something all chapters must do. The report covers May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Here is what we filed. Some highlights:
- Our program of the year was the Oct. 13 online discussion with Dorothy Butler Gilliam, the first Black woman reporter at The Washington Post and author of a recent memoir titled “Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America.”
- We engaged the public not only with the conversation featuring Ms. Gilliam but also with a panel discussion on May 27, 2020, about the pandemic’s impact on news organizations and journalists in Virginia and an online discussion on Feb. 25, 2021, with Richmond-based journalist Chip Jones about his recent book “The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South.”
- We sponsored or co-sponsored several professional development programs — on “Searching for News During COVID-19,” on covering the 2020 elections and about new state laws affecting journalists and the news media.
- On the First Amendment front, we co-hosted a webinar about FOIA in Virginia, issued statements in support of reporters and other news personnel covering local protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, and sent a letter urging the Newport News City Council to live-stream and post video of its work sessions.
- We also made a $300 contribution to the Virginia is For Journalists Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to journalists who have been furloughed or seen pay cuts or job losses due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the report, SPJVA members Martha Steger, Gail Gilmore and Francine Crutchfield examined the chapter’s bank statements, receipts and expenditures (thanks!). They reported: “We have examined the books of the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. We find them to be accurate and in order.”
We ended the year with a bank balance of $7,038.23.