Latest charter members, SPJ Georgia on the move


Welcome to the new charter members of SPJ Georgia! Don’t forget that you can join and further your journalistic ambitions and the industry in Georgia.

Dana Blankenhorn,, contributor

Edward Cates, CEO, Nuance Marketing

Sharon Dunten,, editor/content manager; freelance writer/photojournalist

Judith Kanne, TGA Communications, LLC, nurse/journalist

Ruksana Hussain, freelance writer and copy editor

Sandee LaMotte, CBS 46, executive producer, special projects

Jason Meucci, CNN Wire Service – CNN Newsource, manager

David Morrison, Brenau Window, editor

Devika Rao, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writer; O’Neille Communications, account manager; freelance writer

Kimberly Ross, journalist

Adina Solomon, Air Cargo World, associate editor

Marsha Walton, Science writer & producer, freelance

Haisten Willis, Newspapers of West Georgia, editor


Who says learning can't be fun? What better way to meet fellow SPJ leaders from around the country than sitting down next to them at the blackjack table.
Who says learning can’t be fun? What better way to meet fellow SPJ leaders from around the country than sitting down next to them at the blackjack table.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  

More on this quote later, but suffice to say, it’s a philosophy I wholeheartedly embrace and endorse. With that in mind, I recently set off to the SPJ Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. (Thank you, SPJ Region 8, for letting a SPJ Region 3 guy crash the party.)

The basic premise of these learning opportunities provided by SPJ and Ted Scripps is providing members a chance to better understand your leadership strengths – and come away armed with the knowledge and resources to strengthen both your chapter and yourself.

As one of the leaders of SPJ Georgia, I was looking forward to learning all I could about the successes, opportunities and challenges facing existing local chapters, then applying that as we go about starting a brand new one here in the Peach State.

Beginning a new chapter from scratch is a daunting task, to be sure. But therein lies the opportunity. Because SPJ Georgia is basically still in embryonic stage, we can all work together to make it whatever we want it to be – and that’s where you come in!

One of our key goals for 2014 is simply to build awareness, and with it, membership. And we want that membership to be valuable to you, the Georgia journalist. So if you haven’t already, please tell us what you’d like SPJ Georgia to help you with.

What challenges are journalists and newsrooms – big or small, broadcast, digital or print – facing? How are you keeping up with the breakneck speed in evolution of the journalism industry and the tools used to ply the trade? What’s the best way to connect freelancers with publishers/employers? Is there a way journalists and PR professionals can not only co-exist, but help each other? How will “Generation J” – as SPJ so cooly refers to our future newsroom leaders – grow journalism?

These are just a few of the issues we might take on. But it all starts with you. One of the great things about SPJ is that its core mission applies to journalists of all types and experience levels. Together, we can help each other through a challenging but exciting time in our field. (And terrific networking opportunities at social events don’t hurt, either.)

So tell us: What do you want from your SPJ Georgia chapter? You can reach us on our Facebook page, email us at or tweet us @SPJGeorgia to give us your ideas.

Just outside the hotel where the Ft. Worth edition of the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute was held stands a memorial plaza where JFK made his last public speech on Nov. 22, 1963.
Just outside the hotel where the Fort Worth edition of the SPJ Ted Scripps Leadership Institute was held stands a memorial plaza where JFK made his last public speech on Nov. 22, 1963.

Now, back to the quote above. If you can indulge my inner history geek for a moment, I’ll explain how it has a historic – and tragic – tie to the SPJ Ted Scripps Leadership Institute conference that inspired some of these thoughts.

It’s a quote from a speech President John F. Kennedy was set to deliver in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Of course, he never got to do that. Instead, his last public address was given that morning, just outside what was then the Hotel Texas, where JFK spent what would be his last night.

Now called the Fort Worth Hilton, it just happened to be the site of this year’s Region 8 SPJ/Ted Scripps weekend – where the learning about leadership was hopefully indispensable to each SPJ member lucky enough to be there.

Just one of an enormous collection of benefits and development opportunities that come with SPJ membership.

-Jason Meucci, SPJ Georgia interim board member


March 21: The Sunshine Award recognizes individuals and groups for making important contributions in the area of open government. For more information about how to nominate people, visit SPJ’s website.

March 22: SPJ Georgia Pro gathers in Eatonton, Ga. Watch for details on SPeachJ, Facebook and Twitter.

April 4-5: SPJ educators, are you looking for training and great tools for teaching? Attend Journalism Interactive in College Park, Md.

Sept. 4-6: SPJ Excellence in Journalism national conference is held in Nashville, Tenn. Watch for more details on SPeachJ, Facebook and Twitter.


Judi Kanne
Judi Kanne

Judi L. Kanne recently published a story in Georgia Health News about the vanishing inpatient. Kanne has worked on and off at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as nurse/health educator/health communication specialist since the early 1990s. Her degrees are in nursing and journalism. To contact Kanne, email her at

If you would like to share news about an SPJ Georgia member, please email


On Feb. 3, in a cubbyhole at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Brookhaven, Ga., the SPJ Georgia interim board met for the first time to officially organize the chapter. Sharon Dunten, Ruksana Hussain, Jason Meucci, Devika Rao and Adina Solomon were in attendance as the SPJ Georgia interim board members for 2014.

The following are highlights of the Feb. 3 interim board meeting:

  • Interim board members agreed to a one-year commitment to SPJ Georgia
  • Board voted for a $25 SPJ Georgia chapter annual due
  • Ruksana Hussain volunteered to track finances
  • Adina Solomon volunteered to manage social media
  • Sharon Dunten volunteered to manage membership
  • Board voted to use SPJ Georgia name for business and marketing purposes
  • The temporary mailing address for SPJ Georgia is 411 Asbury Commons, #B, Atlanta, Ga.  30338
  • The SPJ Georgia interim board voted to meet the first Tuesday of every month
  • The board agreed that 2014 will be largely about membership, awareness and highlighting members
  • The board agreed to continue to host gatherings in Atlanta but to continue to plan for statewide gatherings

The next board meeting will be held at the Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta on March 4.


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