Society of Professional Journalists leader resigns after one year in post

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Mckenzie mugAlison Bethel McKenzie

The Indianapolis-based Society of Professional Journalists is looking for a new executive director after the departure of Alison Bethel McKenzie, who resigned after just 13 months in the job.

“Alison Bethel McKenzie has resigned as executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists,” SPJ said in a statement released Tuesday. “We thank her for her contributions to the society, and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

The statement did not say why McKenzie was leaving or if she had another job lined up. SPJ declined further comment.

Former SPJ National President Rebecca Baker called McKenzie a “game changer for SPJ" when she was hired last year as the 20th executive director in the national organization’s 110-year history. She was the first African-American to lead the organization, which has about 6,000 members.

“I just think it’s not the right fit for me,” McKenzie said of SPJ this week in an interview with Journal-isms, an online publication that covers diversity issues in the media. “I wish them all kinds of success. I’ll continue to be a member.”

She told the publication she wasn’t ready to announce her next move.

McKenzie previously served for five years as executive director of the International Press Institute, the world’s oldest global press freedom organization.

In an interview with IBJ in July, McKenzie said there was a growing need for journalism outreach to increase trust in the media.

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