SPJ Houston board election to take place Friday

The Houston chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will have an election for the chapter’s 2013-14 board of directors on Friday, Sept. 27. The election is for the term beginning Oct. 1, 2013 and ending Sept. 30, 2014. Nominations concluded Tuesday.

The board serves as the decision-making body of the chapter. See the bylaws for a description of each board position.


President: Jim Magill

Vice president: Sarah Tucker

Secretary: Kassia Micek

Treasurer: Susanne Pagano

Board members at large: Raymond Ruiz, Dwight Baker

Only Houston Pro chapter members in good standing are eligible to vote. Voting is by email and will begin at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 27, 2013 and close at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 27, 2013. Please send votes to ruthmiriam@earthlink.net. No special ballot is required; simply indicate your vote for each position, e.g. John Smith for President or President: John Smith.

Nominee bios

Jim Magill:

I have been a professional journalist for the past 35 years, including a year and a half in Pennsylvania and the remainder in the Houston area. Most of my early experience was in newspapers, both dailies and weeklies, including a six-year stint with the Houston Chronicle, where I wrote and took photos for that paper’s community news and special sections department. For most of the past two decades, I’ve worked as a reporter and editor for Platts, covering the natural gas industry. I’m married and am the father of two adult children. I’ve been involved with SPJ for more than 20 years and served as a Chapter board member and president. As an officer with the Houston Chapter, I hope to increase our Chapter membership; offer a wide variety of meetings, including informative panel discussions and social networking get-togethers; and raise SPJ’s profile within the Houston community. Thanks for the opportunity to serve SPJ.


Sarah Tucker:

I got my start in journalism writing for the University of Houston’s student newspaper. After graduating from UH in 2009, I attended the University of Missouri for a master’s in journalism and returned to Houston in 2012. I’ve worked in Missouri, North Dakota, Kansas and Texas in print, web and radio, mostly as a general assignment reporter but also as a copy editor and page designer. As an officer with SPJ Houston, I hope to increase our chapter’s membership and help set up student chapters with area colleges, as well as continue to host informative panel discussions and networking socials.


Kassia Micek:

Kassia Micek is an associate editor at Platts covering electricity markets. She received a bachelor degree in Mass Communication – Print Journalism from Texas State University-San Marcos, where she served as a reporter and later assistant news editor for The University Star and interned at the San Marcos Daily Record. After graduation, Micek worked as a web producer at News 9 San Antonio before coming to Houston Community Newspapers, where she spent more than seven years as a reporter for The Courier of Montgomery County and East Montgomery County Observer, and served as assistant digital editor for HCN‘s North Group. She is a Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2011 graduate. As an SPJ Houston board member, she plans to help get student journalists involved in the chapter, increase membership and awareness, and continue to serve on the programs subcommittee to bring events to local journalists.


Susanne Pagano:

I have been an active member of Houston SPJ since the 1980s and have served as president and board member.  I am a staff correspondent in Houston for Arlington, Va.-based Bloomberg BNA, covering a broad range of regulatory and legal news in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi including environmental, health care, taxes, occupational safety and health, and labor issues.  I previously edited offshore oil and gas newsletters, was a reporter for several small dailies, and worked on numerous freelance projects.  I joined SPJ while a student at the University of Texas at Austin.  As a SPJ volunteer, I coordinated information-gathering, editing and printing of the Houston Area Media Directory, judged journalism contests, helped to plan the 2005 regional SPJ spring conference in Houston, among other projects.  I served as treasurer in 2012-2013, and will continue these duties, if elected.  My goals include continuing financial transparency of our chapter to ensure integrity and the fiscal health of our organization.


Dwight Baker:

Dwight Baker wasn’t born in Texas, but got here as fast as he could. He moved from his home state of Iowa in 1990 to begin an eighteen-year career at Johnson Space Center in Houston working on both the space shuttle and space station programs. Upon being laid off in 2008, he pursued his dream of writing for a living by launching his freelance writing business, Lone Star Freelance. He’s written for several area newspapers, most notably the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Digital Media, providing news stories, web content, and other services. He’s also written for non-profit organizations and even a local TV station. He lives in Pearland with his wife and three children.  My goals for the Houston SPJ are to help grow its membership and make it even more effective. I want to champion true journalism in Houston and assist the chapter in augmenting the journalistic pursuits of its members.


Raymond Ruiz:

Raymond Ruiz is the president and founder of EGMN (El Gato Media Network), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that develops college journalism students into media professionals. For the past five years, he has worked with Latino college students in the areas of journalism, online media, public relations and media ethics.  Raymond has a master’s degree in gifted education from the University of Houston.  As a board member of Houston SPJ, he will work to expand the digital footprint of SPJ and engage the Houston area college students.