ASNE members overwhelmingly approve bylaws changes
By a vote of 121 to 10, ASNE members agreed to open the organization's membership to a larger pool of editors, educators and leaders of nonprofit groups dedicated to journalism. The amendment that was approved also creates a new nonvoting "Friends of ASNE" category. The changes are aimed at boosting ASNE's membership and making the organization more inclusive by better defining who is a leader in producing news content in the digital age.
ASNE members have overwhelmingly approved bylaws changes to broaden the range of those eligible to join the organization.
The 121 to 10 vote will open ASNE membership to a larger pool of editors, educators and leaders of nonprofit groups dedicated to journalism. It also creates a new nonvoting "Friends of ASNE" category.
The electronic voting took place May 6-20. It followed ASNE board approval of the bylaws changes the previous month.
ASNE President Ken Paulson had described approval by the full membership as a "critical step" that will lead to a "more inclusive and innovative" organization.
The ASNE staff is at work on plans to begin soliciting potential new members who now are eligible to join. Those efforts will begin soon.
The bylaws changes are aimed at boosting ASNE's membership. As with most similar journalism organizations, it has declined over the past decade.
But they also are intended to make the organization more inclusive by better defining who is a leader in producing news content in the digital age. The bylaws changes clarify that ASNE membership, once restricted to top newspaper editors, is open to all directing or supervisory editors involved in "print, online, electronic or digital media."
For journalism educators, membership will now be open to those in "faculty or supervisory positions" at universities or "related media institutions or programs." Previously, membership had been restricted primarily to university deans, associate deans and those holding endowed chairs.
And membership also will be extended to leaders of nonacademic groups "dedicated to media education and study or the promotion of free press and quality journalism." This bylaws change was intended to capture leaders of the growing number of nonacademic groups dedicated to media research or press freedom.
The new "Friends of ASNE" category will grant membership to those who the Board, by a two-thirds vote, "determines may be beneficial to ASNE and its journalistic endeavors." These might include media attorneys, as well as bloggers or independent researchers widely recognized as journalism thought leaders.
"Friends of ASNE" will not have voting rights and cannot serve in leadership positions. Otherwise, they will enjoy all membership benefits.