Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Will you be our leader?

Following up on my last blog post regarding the resignation of SPJ Region 8 Director Scott Cooper: is anyone interested in filling the now-vacant position?

SPJ President John Ensslin recently wrote to members and said that while the investigation into the unauthorized transactions from the Oklahoma Pro chapter's account continues, candidates are being sought to fill the regional director post "on an interim basis until September's election."

At that point, during the national Excellence in Journalism conference, members will be able to elect someone for the full two-year term, Ensslin's letter states. The regional director oversees 11 student and 4 professional chapters in Texas and Oklahoma, and represents those chapters on the national board.

Interested? Please contact Hagit Limor at hlimormedia@gmail.com by June 9. SPJ's board of directors will select an interim Region 8 director at a meeting on June 16.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Regional director resigns

Scott Cooper, treasurer-secretary of the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of SPJ and the director of Region 8 - which includes Texas - resigned this week amid allegations of unauthorized use of the chapter's checking account.

According to the chapter’s news release, Cooper's resignation followed the chapter's discovery that more than $40,000 in unauthorized withdrawals had been made after chapter leadership was notified that checks were being returned due to insufficient funds.

The Oklahoman reported that Cooper referred all questions to his attorney, Ed Blau.

“My client deeply regrets his actions as detailed in the Oklahoma SPJ statement,” Blau told The Oklahoman. “Words cannot express the embarrassment and remorse my client feels as a result of his mistakes.”

A statement issued by SPJ President John Ensslin said he's appointed a three-person committee to conduct a fact-finding investigation and help chapters improve procedures to avoid a similar incident in the future.

Meanwhile, potential candidates are being solicited by national staff to fill the vacancy on an interim basis. The Oklahoma chapter's award contest will continue, and actions have been taken to protect SPJ assets, the chapter's release states.