New club on campus for student journalists

By Natalia Achucarro

The Society of Professional Journalists has come to Cal Poly Pomona and is accessible to all students.

Although the chapter of the national organization is targeted towards communication students to explore their field and gain experience, all students are welcome to join.

Jason Turcotte, an associate professor in the communication department, spearheaded the iniatitve.

Turcotte used his experience as a SPJ member and as a professional journalist to create a CPP student-run chapter.

“As a journalist, I was a member [of SPJ] when I was a reporter in New York City,” said Turcotte.

“It was helpful to get to know people who were at my level professionally. You can learn from them and hear about job opportunities. But there are many benefits to having a student-run chapter on campus. This is designed so students can take advantage of all the SPJ benefits before even entering the field, which helps them become better connected journalists.”

Turcotte says that students can expect to see the club host a few future events and have a voice on campus.

“Students can expect this chapter to be active and visible,” said Turcotte. “This year the expectations are lower because we have a lot of bureaucracy, paper work and bylaws that all new clubs need to go through. So I think one realistic goal for this year is as we finalize the process this quarter, probably expect one or two big events that are open to all communication majors.”

SPJ currently has a provisional chapter status. The club is able to function as a full chapter, but their membership becomes official in April when the SPJ executive board meets.

Turcotte said that through this club, students are able to set goals for their involvement and get some professional skills out of participating.

“My goal for the chapter is to see it grow,” said Turcotte. “What is really going to drive the chapter are the goals of the students. It’s a completely student-led organization. The students run the entire meeting. So my goal is that students here are getting something out of it professionally.”

Students are able to join SPJ throughout any point of the year. Even though officers have already been elected, Turcotte encourages students to come and see if the chapter is something they would like to be involved in.

“We have a handful of members right now that are not registered with SPJ, but have been coming to the meetings to kind of feel out what the club is about and to decide if it’s something they want to join,” said Turcotte. “That’s perfectly okay.”

Chloe Saunders, a first-year communication student, joined the club in order to gain insight on what journalism careers entail.

“I am definitely excited on meeting new people and just being able to see what a journalism career is all about before I actually get to the work force and dedicate my life to the career,” said Saunders.

Eduardo Castaneda, a third-year communication student, heard about the club in Turcotte’s reporting class. Castaneda wanted to get involved in order to be more active with his major and on campus.

“I want to be involved because I also want to be involved in extra school activities,” said Castaneda. “I think that will help me a lot to get a better idea of what journalism actually is and what we can do with it. “

Castaneda is excited with the experience that other students are bringing to SPJ and wishes to learn from them.

“I’m looking forward to making a lot of connections with people,” said Castaneda. “I want to learn from the seniors in the chapter and see what they can teach me based on their experience. I also am excited to see what Professor Turcotte is going to contribute to the class with his journalism background.”

The club meets Tuesdays during U-Hour in Building 1.


Jairo Pineda / The Poly Post


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