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SJGC Professor Leah Hunter appointed to the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Task Force on Student Chapter Formation

By Sterling Bright
February 17, 2021

Leah P. Hunter, Ph.D. an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication has been appointed to the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Task Force on Student Chapter Formation. The Task Force consists of chapter advisors, students, and members of the SPJ board.

Since December 2017 Hunter has been the advisor for the FAMU chapter of SPJ. The Society of Professional Journalists also known as Sigma Delta Chi, is the oldest organization to represent and protect journalists of their right of free press.

Apart of her new position, Hunter will be responsible for encouraging and supporting the formation of new student chapters of SPJ across the country. Before the creation of the Student Chapter Formation Task Force, it was clear there was a disconnect between the student chapters and leadership.

A meeting which featured the student chapter presidents and advisors was the catalyst for the task force. As they discussed the problems student chapters were facing, SPJ President Matthew Hall created this team in an effort to meet the needs of students.

The task force is looking for ways to help student chapters form and then stay active at their institutions. Through that meeting and Hunter’s strong opinion she was appointed to the Task Force personally by Hall.

The goal of the task force is the establishment of 10 new chapters across various campuses. Included within those chapters SPJ hopes to establish a few of those chapters in underrepresented institutions such as HBCU’s. As advisor for an HBCU chapter Hunter discussed how she plans to continue to grow the FAMU chapter of SPJ. Despite the issues caused by Covid-ap Hunter has still made it a point to continue Zoom sessions and panel discussions for her members.

“I’m really putting more hope in this goal and more opportunities for students of color,” said Hunter. “I love the fact that we are putting more organization on and more people of color into the loop.”

As the advisor of the Florida A&M chapter of SPJ, Hunter prepares students for the journalism field and helps mentor students as they matriculate through SJGC. Hunter stated how although she likes to adhere to the mission of SPJ, she also exposes students to unique experiences and activities that relate to SPJ values. Whether through resume sessions or workshops, Hunter makes it a point to listen to her students and help them just as much as they help her.