The Society for Collegiate Journalists is the nation’s oldest honor society for student media leaders. Journalism is a foundation of democracy, and to ensure its future, SCJ focuses on professional development at the collegiate level. SCJ advances ethical, accurate, and innovative collegiate journalism nationally and creates a strong network of advocates for First Amendment education.
The Society for Collegiate Journalists is a National Society of Collegiate Mass Communications. SCJ was formed when Pi Delta Epsilon, founded in 1909, and Alpha Phi Gamma, founded in 1919, merged in 1975.
Today SCJ has approximately 100 active chapters nationwide and 1,200 members.
The National Council provides each active chapter key services:
- an annual national student journalism contest judged by professionals in the field;
- a biennial national meeting comprised of chapter delegates and members;
- awards to honor accomplishments: Medal of Merit Certificate; Presidential Citation; Ingelhart First Amendment Award; McDonald Award for the outstanding chapter and the SCJ Barlow Student Journalist of the Year Award;
- mentoring and recognition for new leadership, including Outstanding New Adviser and Outstanding New Chapter awards
In addition, local chapters sponsor workshops, seminars and speakers intended to help their members improve their practice of journalism on the campus and prepare for professional careers after graduation.
In recent years, SCJ has developed a series of articulations with a wide range of organizations serving common values. The first and oldest has been with the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), which provides its quarterly SPLC Report for our members. SCJ also closely associates with the College Media Association (CMA). The Society for Professional Journalists offers membership to SCJ participants upon graduation. SCJ works with the National Newspaper Association on a variety of national issues related to student journalism.
The SCJ National Office also provides a $500 scholarship for SCJ’s selected Student Journalist of the Year and a $500 award for the winner of the Ingelhart Award.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
The traditions of the Society for Collegiate Journalists are imbued with the spirit and legacy of Pi Delta Epsilon and Alpha Phi Gamma. The dominant tradition of the Society, the oldest national honorary collegiate journalism organization, is service.
It is through service that SCJ has become one of the major organizations on many campuses throughout the United States. To the service tradition, the organization owes its enviable record of accomplishments, specifically on the individual campuses.
Because the Society stands for service, membership in it is not to be regarded as an honor in itself, but also as an opportunity for rendering greater service. Whatever traditions may accrue to the Society and its membership in the future, none shall ever supplant the tradition of service.
Throughout the nation, chapters of the Society have taken leadership positions in a wide variety of campus movements. Chapters have been credited with establishing collegiate news bureaus, conducting employment campaigns, establishing publicity programs, sponsoring seminars and workshops, giving scholarships, and helping establish additional college publications, as well as collegiate radio and television stations.
The Society’s Place On the Local Campus
The National Constitution of the Society has been established in the broadest possible fashion to allow each local chapter to establish, within the rules and regulations at that campus, the organization which best fits the needs of the local situation. Therefore, on some campuses, the Society is a “true” scholarship honor organization with a grade-point requirement being the primary criterion for membership. On other campuses, it is designated as an “honorary” organization with other membership criteria, and on still other campuses, it is the publications “club” with social functions as a primary goal.
The broad diversity of local chapter structures has strengthened the impact of the Society at the colleges and universities where chapters have been established. The Society cannot be all things to all members, but its individual campus chapters can, through organization, structure, and goals, create the local Society chapter in the fashion best suited to that particular college or university.
The local chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists could well be the clearinghouse for the problems of all campus communications. Meetings could be devoted frequently to consideration of possible disputes between staffs, to constructive criticism of each communications medium when necessary, and to suggestions for improvement in financial supervision and rules governing the election and selection of media staffs.