Southern Ohio SPJ chapter forming

The Southern Ohio chapter-in-formation of the Society of Professional Journalists officially launched its bid to create a regional organization this week with the activation of the chapter’s Web site,

Serving counties in southern Ohio and northern counties of Kentucky and West Virginia, the SPJ/SO hopes to offer membership to students and professionals alike in the belief both groups can benefit from interacting with each other, according to Ryan Ottney, the staff writer with the Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times, who has spearheaded the formation of the SPJ chapter in recent months.

(The Shawnee State University graduate’s professional experience also includes stints at the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch and the Associated Press as well as formation of the Rosetta Communications public relations firm.)

The SPJ/SO has begun recruiting efforts and planning so that it may appeal for official status by the national SPJ board. In keeping with this plan, Ottney said organizers hope to have an informational meeting in the next few weeks so journalists in the coverage area can learn what the SPJ has to offer.

The effort to form the chapter has gained the endorsement of the journalism faculty of Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, in hopes of incorporating their students into the program.

SPJ Membership Coordinator Wendy Hoke, Region 4 Director Kevin Smith, and the Central Ohio SPJ pro chapter also have joined in support of the Southern Ohio chapter.

Ottney said he hopes to schedule a first meeting this summer featuring local, state and national speakers.

Check out the chapter’s site for more information, or e-mail the chapter at [email protected] for information on how you can join.