This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.The index immediately below links to members-only materials posted 2014-16.

Membership directory (Find colleagues. Have you checked your own profile?)

Split sessions at 2014 business meeting
Salem editorial on S.C. massacre (PDF 2 pages)
Albany editorial on S.C. massacre (PDF 1 page)

AOJ association president's 2014 letter about joint boards' consideration of merging professional association's remaining assets into the foundation. (web, below on this page)

AOJ Foundation president's letter to members June 25, 2015 (PDF 1 page)

2016 materials, including Feb. 9 president's letter, on near future of the foundation. (may require log-in)

Future of the Editorial panel at Symposium 2015, link to video 

Much material on this page is historical. It includes background material from behind-the-public-pages about AOJ's 2014-2015 reorganization, and more.

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AOJ business meeting, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 23, 2014. morning session (composite photo 10:01:07-10:01:09 a.m. cdt. (c) 2014 all rights reserved

This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

Split sessions view vote outcome, minority writers

The AOJ annual business meeting of September 23, 2014, was held in two sessions. The morning dealt with the referendum results and a freewheeling, reluctantly off-the-record discussion of the direction the remaining foundation and its prospective partner organizations should take. The afternoon session featured a presentation on the Minority Writers Seminar.

In short:

  • The referendum passed with 97 percent of votes cast. (Yes 107 No 3 Abstain 5)
  • AOJ as an association will dissolve, turning assets over to AOJ Foundation, which will change to carry both missions at far less cost.
  • Present association officers will continue during transition (voted 9/23).
  • Foundation seeks new board members by December, plans bylaws changes.
  • Minority Writers Seminar keeps present funding level and polishes its plan with new leader Ricardo Pimentel.
  • State Department briefing leader sought to take over with help from Carolyn Lumsden, who handled 2013-14 sessions.
  • Board authorized to negotiate 2015 conference; site and date (and possible partner organization) TBA. First Amendment Center's offer for Nashville stands, but board is not bound to it by the 2013 resolution (voted 9/23).
  • Task force vetting SPJ, ASNE and other suitors for affiliation; report due in October. Chair David Haynes; members Kate Riley and Paula Ellis.
  • Foundation "Celebration" giving exceeds original $3,500 goal, clears $4,000, sets per-capita record.
  • Discussion list continues unchanged.
  • Association management to change by about mid-November.
  • This [prior NCEW-AOJ] website can work for some time; suitors offer assistance or access to their sites if we affiliate.
(9/24/14 20:32 JM updated 9/29/14 12:42)

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(c) Copyright 2014-15-16 Association of Opinion Journalists

UPDATED Nov. 29, 2015 

Future of The Editorial panel at AOJ Symposium 2015 in St. Petersburg, via an unlisted site on YouTube. The video is sized for mobile devices and is OK in one quadrant of a hi-def computer screen. If you capture the URL, you may share it (with a prospective member, for example). (back to page index)

Poynter discount:

AOJ members get 20 percent discounts on online programs of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in its News-U professional education entity. The promotion code for all 2015 News-U events is 15PAOJ20. To use it or to access other Poynter News-U services, set up a free account at http://newsu.org, confirm it by responding to the email, and use the code when registering for an event.

The AOJ & AOJ Foundation boards propose merging to a single non-profit; and more...


Here is the body of the August 13, 2014, letter from AOJ President Miriam Pepper to the membership, with minor editor's insertions in italics.

May I pick up where we last left off....with “AOJ on the move” news? 

Our new management team is rolling in Tennessee, helping us transfer the website to a new platform that will save us big bucks and offer more flexible design and functionality. What's most important now is for you to ... click on Symposium registration.

Join us in Mobile, Alabama, Sept. 21 (late afternoon) through Sept. 23 dinner. Bob Davis, past president and convention chair, has created a dynamic mix of Southern learning and 21st Century digital know-how. (See the Show details link on the registration page and in articles linked from this website's Home page, left column.)

The dates reflect the best time of the week for many to attend, avoiding the tougher late-week production deadlines for editors.

Please use the AOJ name when reserving rooms at the The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, to get the discount, and do this by Aug. 20 (1-866-316-5957). Members pay no registration fee to attend the symposium if signed up by the end of this month (August). (top)

(The "Reserve...Association of Opinion Journalists" box on the hotel's site gets you the group rate and gives AOJ credit toward its quota of rooms.)

What's ahead:

In our continuing campaign to trim costs and keep our membership rate a low $75, we're proposing to create a single AOJ, rather than maintain two operations, one a 501 (c) 6 (AOJ) and the AOJ Foundation, a 501 (c) 3.

Our move from Pennsylvania is the perfect time to make a change because we are required to register in Tennessee. After consulting with a pro-bono attorney in KC, we've learned we can accomplish all our traditional goals via one organization, a 501 (c) 3, and we are now preparing new bylaws to present to members to consider in Mobile and via email ballots for those who cannot join us.

Why one organization? It simplifies our workload. It lowers our costs. It lessens the paperwork required to be filed annually with the state and feds. It simplifies our bookkeeping, cuts the need for separate bank accounts and accounting. And most important, it puts us in a stronger position to raise needed funds. Many donors prefer to grant funds to a (c) 3, rather than a (c) 6.

So far, we find no downside to opting for a single foundation. But we want to hear your views. AOJ (as NCEW) as a long history, therefore we propose that the name remain AOJ. That fits with the new website, too.

The national issues that demand our attention -- (such as) letters to the White House urging more access for photographers and more transparency* -- would not be limited as a foundation. A foundation cannot endorse candidates, and that's something we never do.
(*See the item on the Home page, updated 8/14/14)

We can create AOJ in Tennessee as a member-based educational charity, so that would remain the same. The difference would be the board makeup and we believe we can painlessly merge the boards. Both the Foundation board and the AOJ board last week approved this proposal: “Shall the Association of Opinion Journalists and the Association of Opinion Journalists Foundation merge by Dec. 31, 2014?”

We would ask the AOJ membership to approve a dissolution of AOJ in Pennsylvania and the creation of AOJ (a foundation) in Tennessee. (top)

We invite conversation about this idea now. The AOJ members' discussion list is a fine vehicle for discussion, or feel free to contact me privately at miriam.a.pepper@gmail.com.

Expect to hear from the Foundation president, Lois Kazakoff, next week. She can be reached at lkazakoff@sfchronicle.com.

Again, please don't let symposium registration/hotel reservations slip by your attention. The more we can gather, the stronger we become.

Celebrate! And please consider donating items to the Foundation “celebration,” a major fundraiser for us. Even those who cannot attend can donate items or purchase raffle tickets. Bonnie Williams is our point person. Reach out to her with items or ideas at bwanddw@gmail.com.

Nominees needed! Finally, we welcome candidates for the AOJ board and secretary-treasurer. Current bylaws suggest we offer six candidates for three board spots. We need to fill those three spots, even with the understanding the board may change by the end of the year. So if you are potentially interested in a leadership spot, please drop me a line. A nominating committee will get to work ASAP. (top)

All the best,
Miriam Pepper
AOJ President

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