About SPJ

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.

It is the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists:

  • To promote this flow of information.
  • To maintain constant vigilance in protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
  • To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.
  • To foster excellence among journalists.
  • To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.
  • To encourage diversity in journalism.
  • To be the pre-eminent, broad-based membership organization for journalists.
  • To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely.

For more information about our national organization, please visit www.spj.org.

Northern California chapter

The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is a longstanding institution that works to support journalists based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and cities and towns throughout the region. We advocate on issues that affect full-time news staff and freelancers alike. We host conferences, programs, workshops and other networking opportunities to support professional growth and development.

For more than three decades, SPJ NorCal has hosted two annual awards banquets to highlight outstanding work. In the fall, the Excellence in Journalism Awards is held to recognize extraordinary contributions in news over the past year and to honor long-term accomplishment with accolades like the Career Achievement award. In the springtime, SPJ NorCal’s Freedom of Information Committee hosts the annual James Madison Freedom of Information Awards banquet to highlight journalistic work that has bolstered the principles of government transparency and accountability.

San Quentin satellite chapter

In 2015, two dozen journalists serving sentences at San Quentin State Prison formed the first chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists inside a prison in the U.S. Today, 41 SPJ members working behind the walls as print, audio and video journalists, write, produce and publish their work in local and national publications including the San Jose Mercury News, The Marshall Project, Life of the Law, KALW News, the San Quentin News, Easy Street Magazine and others. SPJ NorCal sponsors the SPJ Satellite Chapter at San Quentin, assisting with membership dues, professional development and facilitating submission of members’ work for awards.