Society of News Design

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Student Chapters – Getting Started

Getting started

Gather a core of six or more students who are interested in news design and willing to work. For practical reasons, sophomores or juniors are best prospects, as they won’t be graduating just as the student group gets rolling. Find a faculty member to serve as an adviser.

Call an organizational meeting. Use posters, fliers, student newspapers and newsletters to alert prospective members. Offer food at the meeting, such as coffee, soda, cookies and donuts. Or hold the meeting in a reserved section of a local pizza parlor. Request some entertainment money from the journalism department, university or student government.

At the meeting, explain what SND is and what the student affiliate hopes to do. Solicit ideas from those attending. Are there projects they would like to do? Are there speakers they would like to hear? Organizers should be prepared to suggest some possibilities.

Some examples of projects: a symposium or panel discussion on news design, or a more specific area, such as information graphics, photos or coverage of a particular news event; a design exercise by correspondence or by phone with a recognized newspaper designer, Web designer or editor; a day or afternoon with a local or nearby news designer, artist or assistant managing editor for graphics.

The adviser is usually the contact for speakers. He or she can use the SND online member directory to get names. Many SND members are willing to put on programs for free. Some larger newspapers will cover the travel costs for their employees to lead such sessions — especially if the newspaper has a tie to your college or university. Always ask.

Establish a meeting time. Noon meetings, followed by late afternoon or early evening, normally work best.

Decide how the chapter will be funded. Will there be local dues in addition to SND dues? Sales? Workshops for high school students? Will the university provide funds? Most affiliates use a combination of these sources.

If attendees show enthusiasm and willingness to go ahead, appoint or elect interim officers. Assign the officers and committees specific organizational duties, such as raising funds, planning programs and dealing with the university.

Faculty advisers

The faculty adviser and/or the officers will deal with the university. Virtually all have some established method of setting up student organizations. This often falls under the offices of the dean of student life, student government, student union or a student-organization finance office.

Although procedures vary, most universities require the following for an official or recognized student organization:

* The name and purpose of the group (it should be (University initials)/SND. For example: UNC/SND.
* A list of officers
* A faculty adviser
* University control of funds

Require all student chapter members to be SND members. Several ways to handle this are outlined below.

Working with SND Headquarters

When you start organizing a student group, tell the SND executive director immediately. Headquarters needs the same type of information and documents that the universities require: a constitution or bylaws, charter, an up-to-date roster of officers and members, and, most important, the name, address and phone number of the adviser.

Dues must be carefully handled. Prospective members must be told that SND has NO financial relationship with student affiliates. Each student chapter must be financially self-sufficient. Students must understand that until SND headquarters receives the dues (presently $50 per year for full-time students in the United States, $105 per year for additional faculty beyond the official adviser), students are not SND members, and will not receive benefits of membership, no matter what you’re doing in the local chapter. (Individual students may join SND at the present rate of $60 if they have no access to an SND student affiliate.) See Membership

Student affiliates outside the United States must add $25 to the annual SND dues. Experience reveals that there is no real discount available in bulk shipping materials to a single address overseas. Mailing the annual book, for instance, costs $2.98 within the United States and slightly over $25 for all our overseas members, including Canada.

Probably the best way to handle this is to require two payments from student members. One would be made out to the SND office and would cover SND dues. The second would be made out to the local chapter for whatever dues it sets. (Fees must be in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. Bank, or paid by MC, VISA or American Express.)

A student SND affiliate is formed by, and exists for, its members. We have tried to keep the procedure simple.

These guidelines were developed in conjunction with the Education Committee of the Society for News Design and the SND Foundation.