Thank you, SPJ voters!


I’m humbled.

This weekend, the members of the Society of Professional Journalists elected me and Claire Regan to join the national board as at-large directors.

I accept the honor with humility. Three excellent candidates ran and did not get as many votes. I’m not saying they “lost” because they didn’t. Haisten Willis, Andrew Seaman and Alex Veeneman each deserve a seat on the board. There just weren’t enough seats for all of us. My first vow is to those who ran with (not against) me: I will do my best to make YOU so proud that if you had to “lose,” at least it was to someone who brought as much passion and dedication to the job as I know you would have.

I wish to congratulate the others who were elected: first and foremost, my friend Rebecca Aguilar, president-elect. I met Rebecca on the night of a great honor in 2007, followed by a great personal trial. Her perseverance and refusal to wither in the face of controversy inspired me, and my advocacy on her behalf inspired her [at least I think it did] to translate her personal/professional journey to one that placed even greater emphasis on service to each other and the profession.

I could not be more proud than to see her chosen to lead SPJ.

Likewise, I have been friends with Ivette Davila-Richards since we went to college together in New York City, at a school whose name is not particularly well known among the general public: Baruch College of the City University of New York.

The other national board winner is Claire Regan, a contributing writer to print and web at the Staten Island Advance and president of the Deadline Club in the NYC metropolitan area.

Last but not least, congratulations to SPJ’s new president, Matthew T. Hall, who was picked last year to serve as president-elect and who assumed the presidency Sunday evening. I trust he will make us all proud.

I believe I was elected not because of what I have done for SPJ, but because of what I can do. My election is a “show me” from SPJ members, and believe me, I will show you not only what I am capable of accomplishing, but what we are capable of achieving together. If you wanted a silent board member who is going to sit back and rubber stamp the status quo (or overturn the tables without serious deliberation), you picked the wrong guy. I’m not here to make a mess. I am here to take a stand, aggressively, for the integrity of our profession in the face of self-serving critics whose sole mission is to undermine public confidence in the Fourth Estate for political gain.

I invite any and all SPJ members and other interested parties to sign onto my Facebook page at Facebook.com/RafaelOlmeda and follow me on Twitter @rolmeda.

We have a lot to talk about. I have a lot to do. Let’s get started.

Published by Olmeda

At-large director on the national board of the Society of Professional Journalists. Former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and of UNITY: Journalists of Color. An extreme moderate, not committed to political ideology. Stepfather to two wonderful daughters. Father to two wonderful sons. Husband. Rogue karaoke singer. Humanist

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