Welcome to SPeachJ!


Welcome SPJ Georgia Pro members and Georgia journalists to the official monthly newsletter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Georgia chapter, SPeachJ! Your newsletter will hold news and information on chapter members and news within the Georgia journalism industry. SPeachJ will highlight members and inform them to upcoming SPJ Georgia events.

Even so, we also will have time for fun and fellowship as we get to know each other as journalists in metro areas such as Atlanta, Savannah and Augusta, as well as journalists in small towns and the rural areas of this vast state.

With SPeachJ published, now is the time we want to hear from our SPJ Georgia Pro members!  We want your suggestions and feedback for your new chapter as we set goals and plan statewide gatherings. Tell us about a new job, a conference you attended or an award you have won. On the flip side, we also would like to hear from you on issues surrounding the journalism industry by participating on the SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter Facebook and Twitter pages. Remember, SPJ Georgia Pro is your advocate for the journalism profession in Georgia.

We want to hear from all of our SPJ members in Georgia!

To contact the SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter or to be placed on SPeachJ newsletter’s list, email spjgeorgia@gmail.com.

-Sharon Dunten, SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter interim board member


We have gone live! This means your SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter is activated and energized. Visit our Facebook and Twitter. How often do you have the opportunity to shape the path of a well-known journalism organization – and of journalism in the state? SPJ Georgia offers to the opportunity for you to get on the ground floor and use the chapter as a platform to do great things for journalism in Georgia. We encourage you to join now. Advance your career, network with fellow SPJers, put your freelance business on the map, attend gatherings and learning events, and mentor students. The best part? You direct the future of SPJ Georgia.

Please note that instead of an annual fee, you have the option to pay national dues on a monthly basis.


Devika Rao
Devika Rao

Meet Devika Rao, an Atlanta freelance journalist and winner of SPJ Georgia’s contest to name its newsletter – SPeachJ. Devika told SPJ Georgia about her career, her hobbies, her outlook on journalism and what attracted her to this chapter.

As a journalist, where do you work and what are the responsibilities of your position?

Rao: I freelance for various magazines and publications, and have a weekly column with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Doing Good. Full time, I am an account manager at O’Neill Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. I am responsible for the firm’s clients and coordinating their content-related projects.

What is your favorite book? What is your favorite movie?

Rao: I love movies and books way too much to name just one. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Bossypants by Tina Fey are the first three that popped into my head. As for movies, some of my favorites are While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Fight Club and Face/Off.

What is your favorite sports team, if you have one? Favorite restaurant in Georgia?

Rao: My heart has belonged to the Atlanta Braves since I was eight. I also love the Falcons, but not as much as the Braves. Atlanta is becoming a great foodie town. I love exploring Buford Highway for some great restaurants (like Woo Nam Jeong’s Stone Bowl House, White Windmill Bakery, Penang for Malaysian), and indulging in staples such as Muss & Turner’s, South City Kitchen…way too many more!

Do you have a favorite hobby?

Rao: I love to cook, travel, spend time with friends and family, and constantly find adventure.

What first attracted you to the Society of Professional Journalists in Georgia?

Rao: I joined the national organization when I graduated college, and it was great to see a local chapter get started to connect better with writers and editors in the Atlanta area.

What advice would you give to college students studying journalism about the future of the field?

Rao: I can’t predict the future of the field, but news will always be relevant. It’s quicker and collected much faster than before because of social media and the Internet, among other factors. But as a reporter, I would advise for college students to take writing advice, write for everyone and write everything, and read. Be relevant, up-to-date and engage.  And talk to everyone. There is a story everywhere.

What do you want people to know about you as a journalist?

Rao: I ask questions, and no question is stupid – no matter if I know the answer already. I try to find all angles of the story (which may wind up for a bigger story than intended), but I always like to submit more information than less.

In your opinion, in 20 years, what will journalists and journalism look like in comparison to today? 

Rao: It will be even more fast-paced with a lot more interaction from the audience due to video, social media, etc. And I think we will get an eclectic round of stories because of audience engagement.  I do hope that hard-hitting questioning comes back and more informative journalism becomes powerful again.

If you met someone today who asks you about SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter, what would you say?

Rao: I think it is a great way to get involved with local writers in Atlanta and exchange ideas, advice, and also meet new people. You never know who you will meet; they might be the person who will give you your next break!


SPJ Georgia Pro had a journalism trivia night at Olde Blind Dog in Atlanta. This was the winning team.
SPJ Georgia Pro had a journalism trivia night at Olde Blind Dog in Atlanta. This was the winning team.

SPJ Georgia Pro had its first gathering of the year on Jan. 15 at Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Atlanta. SPJers ate dinner together, discussed the future of journalism and SPJ Georgia, and vied to win SPJ goodie bags in a journalism trivia contest.


eij14-headJan. 25: SPJ JournCamp is held in Nashville, Tenn.
March 22: SPJ Georgia Pro gathers in Eatonton, Ga. Watch for details on SPeachJ, Facebook and Twitter.
Sept. 4-6: SPJ Excellence in Journalism national conference is held in Nashville, Tenn. Watch for more details on SPeachJ, Facebook and Twitter.


An appointed SPJ Georgia Pro interim board of directors will meet for the first time on Feb. 3, in Atlanta. The interim board members were selected by SPJ Georgia organizers, and while these members reside in the Atlanta area, leadership opportunities for this interim board are available for SPJ journalists throughout Georgia. Skype and FaceTime will be used for interim board members outside the Atlanta area. Also, SPJ Georgia Pro board meetings might be planned in different regions of Georgia throughout this year.

SPJ Georgia interim board members are SPJGP members Adina Solomon, Sharon Dunten, Jason Meucci and Ruksana Hussain. Learn more about your board members in the next issue of SPeachJ.

Right now is a unique opportunity to join this Georgia interim/advisory board. For more information on the board and its responsibilities, contact Adina Solomon or Sharon Dunten at spjgeorgia@gmail.com.

“Journalism can never be silent: That is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.”
Henry Anatole Grunwald


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