Looking to learn outside the classroom? SPJ might be for you.

The UCF chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is a club on campus dedicated to training and mentoring future media professionals including reporters, writers, editors, columnists, bloggers, photographers, online producers, social media specialists and any other job title you could find on the masthead of a media company.

At their first meeting this semester, members shared their experiences about interning at WKMG Local 6, the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Business Journal, the Reading (Penn.) Eagle and other sites. Club members also discussed the career development workshops they’d like to see the chapter sponsor in the upcoming year. These include workshops on mobile journalism, public records research, multimedia production with text and video, search-engine optimization and service-learning opportunities.

The chapter is also co-sponsoring the upcoming Nicholson School Intern Pursuit event. SPJ is open to any student and chapter meetings are held monthly. Dues are $10 a year. Prospective members are encouraged to join the chapter’s Facebook group at UCF Society of Professional Journalists. That’s where all the networking, internship and job opportunities are posted.

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, embracing journalists who work in every medium. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism; promoting and defending the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press; encouraging high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism; promoting and supporting diversity in journalism; and inspiring successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.

The UCF chapter is one of 300 chapters across the United States that brings educational programming to local areas and offers regular contact with other media professionals. SPJ has more than 9,000 members. Journalism instructor Rick Brunson advises the UCF chapter.

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