CoJMC alumna named president of the Society of Professional Journalists

CoJMC alumna named president of the Society of Professional Journalists

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - 3:45pm
Newberry headshot
Newberry is a 1983 journalism graduate of the CoJMC.

by Molly Roe

Patricia Gallagher Newberry, a 1983 journalism graduate of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, became the 103rd president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2019 Excellence in Journalism conference in San Antonio.

Newberry’s family moved to Lincoln in 1967, where she and each of her siblings attended Pius X high school and eventually UNL.

“And now -- despite the fact that each of us lives in a different city -- we are forever bonded by our shared experiences, including being a Husker,” Newberry said.

At Nebraska, Newberry said she took every opportunity to get involved in engaging journalism work. She joined the Daily Nebraskan as a reporter her freshman year and by her senior year she was the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper.

Her work in and outside of class led to taking four different internships throughout her college career – at the North Platte Telegraph, the Omaha World-Herald, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Lincoln Journal. She also served as president of the student chapter of the SPJ.

Altogether, Newberry worked as a business reporter, editor and columnist for 10 newspapers in seven states during her 15 years in the newspaper industry and continues to occasionally write freelance pieces.

“All of that experience helped launch me into the world of newspapering in January 1984 – with positions at the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Indianapolis News, the Cincinnati Enquirer, USA Today and Crain's Chicago Business – and helped prepare me for my second career as a journalism educator,” Newberry said.

She been teaching journalism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, since fall 1997 and is now a full-time associate lecturer and area coordinator of the journalism program.

According to the SPJ, Newberry has been an active participant on the organization’s national board and has been the secretary-treasurer and Region 4 director in the past. Additionally, she has been on the executive committee and SPJ Governance Task Force and has been involved in many more areas of the organization.

“It's a privilege and pleasure to serve as president of the nation's oldest journalism advocacy organization,” Newberry said. “Every day, I have the opportunity to stand up for journalism, to trumpet the great power of the First Amendment, to push back against those who would vilify the press. For 110 years, SPJ has served to protect and promote the press. It is an awesome task to help spread #SPJLove with my students, my colleagues, our members and our would-be members.”

 Newberry’s goals for the Society include advocating more for press rights, collaborating more with media advocacy groups, increasing Legal Defense Fund efforts and establishing clearer lines of communication between SPJ leaders and members.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.