About SPJ and the Virginia Pro Chapter

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. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 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 SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter carries out that mission by holding events for journalists and the general public, honoring people who have made outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism, providing financial support for college journalists and advocating for free speech, freedom of the press and the First Amendment.

The chapter helped establish the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and collaborates with groups such as the Virginia Press Association and the Richmond Association of Black Journalists on programs to serve the profession and the public.

Membership in SPJ is open to all media professionals who uphold the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. The SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter includes print, broadcast and online journalists across Virginia.

The Virginia Pro Chapter falls into SPJ’s Region 2, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina.

Key dates in SPJ/SPJVA history

1909 – Sigma Delta Chi (SDX) is founded at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.
Fall 1957 – D.C. chapter members come to Richmond to meet with SDX members living here without a local chapter.
September 1958 – SDX-Richmond becomes the 50th SDX local chapter.
1964 – George Mason Award is established to recognize outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism.
1968 – The Richmond chapter asks the Virginia General Assembly to enact an open meetings law. The law passes that year.
1969 – Women are admitted. The Richmond chapter initiates Alberta Lindsay, still a member in 2021, and three other women.
June 1971 – The Richmond chapter presents its first scholarships.
1977 – The home of the Richmond Planet, an early African-American newspaper, is dedicated as a historical site in journalism.
1977-78 – Alf Goodykoontz of the Richmond Times-Dispatch is president of SDX national.
1984-87 – Goodykoontz is president of the SDX Foundation.
1985 – The Richmond SPJ,SDX Foundation is established. The foundation is led by Wilford Kale for many years until he steps down in 2021.
1988 – The Richmond chapter has 134 members.
November 1988 – Sigma Delta Chi becomes the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

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