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Maryland Pro Chapter Wants Your Opinion

By T.C. Cameron

The SPJ Maryland Pro Chapter needs your help.

Vanessa Junkin, the chapter’s events chair, has created a short online survey to gauge what kind of events members from the state are interested in, when the best times to host events are and where the best areas to host them might be.

The chapter, trying to re-emerge after years in the shadows of the DC Pro chapter, has hosted recent collegiate events at Towson University and Salisbury University. Now, it looks to build a consensus among members for professional development. Junkin is a reporter for The Daily News in Salisbury, and a former winner of a MDDC Reese Cleghorn internship, spending eight weeks at the Carroll County Times. She earned her degree from Salisbury in 2012.

She hopes the survey will create a template to engage the chapter’s professional members on a quarterly basis at a minimum.

“As journalists, we may not have 9-to-5 schedules, and we are spread out throughout the state, but if I know what kind of events you want to attend, what areas to host them in and what times and days are best, we can together make this a more successful chapter as a whole,” Junkin said.

The chapter is expected to receive a boost in April when Steve Schuster, current president of SPJ’s professional chapter in Milwaukee, relocates to Maryland. Schuster hopes to play an active role in the state chapter.

“I’ll be resigning from the chapter as soon as I have an offer out there,” Schuster said in a phone call from Wisconsin. “Ultimately, I would like to help grow the chapter, help the chapter plans some outstanding events and re-engage some of the state’s working journalists.”

Schuster has lived in Maryland before, as his wife taught in Baltimore County Public Schools for 11 years before moving to Milwaukee.

“I’ve been in touch with David Burns (the current SPJ Maryland Pro president) and it’s my understanding David is running for president again, so I’m hopeful to perhaps serve as vice president,” Schuster said.

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and is anonymous. The survey also offers the opportunity to leave suggestions and comments. The site will stop accepting survey responses April 5 at midnight.

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