PMJA Bylaws Changes to Take Effect in 10 Days

PMJA News,

Based on feedback from membership, the PMJA Board has revised the proposed changes to the bylaws. The revisions were approved on Feb. 27 and will take effect on March 10 after the 10-day notice that is required in the bylaws.

Some members were concerned with the change that allowed the board to elect its own members and took the membership out of that process. After hearing those concerns, the board has decided to continue the election process with all members voting for board representatives. The other major changes that will go into effect include the following:

Change #1: Updating member types.

Under the new bylaws, our membership types change slightly. “News Organization” replaces “Outlet” and encompasses our traditional station members; “Media Professional” replaces “Individual Member” and includes individuals not employed at a news organization; “Supporter” replaces “Corporate” membership and includes any organization that would like to support public media journalism; and “Student,” which is the same as it has been in the past. This change allows each station to continue to have a single vote, and also allows supporting and individual members a vote.

Reasoning: The membership types don’t change significantly but are better defined for people who are interested in joining.

Change #2: Allow voting for all member types.

Under the previous bylaws, only “Outlet” members were allowed voting privileges. This change allows a single vote for each dues-paying membership except student members.

Reasoning: While our main membership type will likely continue to be stations, the committee felt that there was really no reason to exclude other membership types from voting.

Change #3 - Board makeup.

Under the new bylaws, the size of the board will continue to be seven members, but not all members are required to be working journalists at a member news organization. The new bylaws requires that a majority of the seven are working journalists and requires efforts to ensure that size of organization is a consideration, rather than having specific seats dedicated to small, medium and large.

Reasoning: Frequently, we have more than one person from a certain size station interested in serving while at the same time needing to search out an interested candidate from another size station. The current board makeup also doesn’t allow for us to encourage people who are technically outside of the newsroom to serve on the board, allowing the board to broaden its skillset to better serve membership. One example is a recent board member who was elevated to the position of chief content officer which made her ineligible for board service under the current bylaws. The changes would allow that person to serve in one of the three seats that are not reserved for working journalists.

Change #4 - Officers on the board will be chosen by the board rather than voted on individually by membership.

Currently, an individual runs for a specific office on the board (president, vice president, treasurer). Under this change, candidates will run for a board seat and then the board will select officers from among the current board members.

Reasoning: The board members get to know each other and learn about each other’s strengths. Membership at-large is probably not as familiar with each board member’s strengths and abilities as they relate to officer positions.

Under the new bylaws, membership will continue to elect the board of directors through a virtual election to be held each May. New board members will take office in July.

You can review the new bylaws in depth here.

Read the Bylaws