Day 328- Society of Professional Journalists

Greetings from rainy Sarasota, Florida! It seems I brought Tropical Storm Bonnie along with me for my brief trip. I’ve been enjoying the hotel and I dined out with my friend, Paola, tonight. 

With that, I’d like to mention that today is Paola’s birthday! She, our friend Ashlie, and I are sharing a room at a hotel.

Paola has been one of the earliest and most devoted supporters of “Holdin’ Out for a Hero,” but before Aug. 29, 2009, she was my friend, like a sister to me for many years. It’s important to have friends with whom you can share your heart, your goals, your dreams, your struggles, your successes.

Moreover, Paola and I share a desire to give back and to help people in the spina bifida and hydrocephalus community. That is a goal that has brought us closer together over the years. I wish her the very best birthday, and may this year bring many blessings for her!

As I shared with you last night, I “attended” the LATISM party to raise funds for bloggers to attend the BlogHer conference. While they were able to raise some of the funds needed, LATISM still needs enough to send over 20 bloggers to this conference. Those of you interested in making a contribution of any amount have until Monday to do so, at the LATISM Web site.

I know I talk a lot about the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, but I wanted to profiled another organization I am a member of, but haven’t really had the time to get more involved with. The Society of Professional Journalists was founded in 1909 as a fraternity called Sigma Delta Chi.

The organization later changed its name to The Society of Professional Journalists, but remains committed to its original goal of “the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.”

Part of its mission is to “encourage diversity in journalism.” It is my hope that this commitment to diversity would extend toward the issues that have yet to be addressed in the mass media, in particular spina bifida. To that end, I will try to get involved to the best of my ability (and, schedule permitting!), to see if I can bring awareness of these issues to the mainstream media.

We see a lot of similar stories in the media– celebrity scandals, natural disasters, political mud-slinging, and trends to follow. But what we need are more human interest stories. I don’t necessarily mean the sappy, “Get out the box of Kleenex” type of stories. I mean stories about people who happen to have spina bifida, or cerebral palsy, or hydrocephalus, but who are perhaps using their challenges to make the difference in their communities.

Scandals are easy to find. Negativity always floats to the surface. It’s the positive news that you often find yourself having to dig deep for. There are  a rare few who find these stories. Optimism is the hallmark of a true professional journalist.

Yes, bad stuff will happen. But it takes courage to see the silver lining, and it takes even more courage to be the one to share it with everyone in this overdepressed, cynical world.




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