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Members to consider constitutional changes.

Members of NCEW who attend this fall's convention in Ottawa will be asked to vote on some changes to the organization's constitution, primarily regarding membership qualifications. The proposed changes come after more than a year of discussion by the Futures Committee and the Executive Committee.

Those changes address concerns in three areas, two in the definition of active members and a third for associate members.

The first affects membership for faculty members of colleges, schools, or departments of journalism or of institutions offering in-service training for journalists. The constitution unnecessarily complicates this issue by offering one definition of eligibility for active membership and a second but similar definition for associate membership. The new provision will allow active membership for journalism professors, without a second category for associate membership. This conforms with the current membership practice.

The second change allows former presidents of NCEW to remain active members of the organization even after they have left the journalism field. Those who become president of the organization must have devoted at least six or seven years to the organization and profession and, the Futures Committee and Executive Committee thought, should have the right to retain their membership, if they wish.

Third is creation of a new category of associate members. Former NCEW members may have moved to other positions in newspapers or in colleges or universities, while still supporting the goals of the organization and retaining close friendships among its members. They should be allowed to pay dues, participate in activities and committees, and vote. But they should not hold office.

The committee also discussed whether to amend the constitution to include criteria for membership for online editorial writers. We determined that the field is too new and evolving to take such a stand. The Membership Committee will deal with membership requests from online writers and editors on a case-by-case basis for the present.

We think the proposed changes are inclusive, yet respectful of NCEW's goals and purposes. We hope members will consider carefully and then approve these proposed changes.

NCEW member Lynnell Burkett is editorial page editor of The San Antonio Express-News and editor-in-residence at the Newspaper Management Center of Northwestern University. Her e-mail address:
COPYRIGHT 1998 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:National Conference of Editorial Writers's Ottawa convention promises changes that will help the body achieve its goals and objectives
Author:Burkett, Lynnell
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Jun 22, 1998
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