In The Social Media Universe We Are All Journalists

Leading Professional Journalism Organizations


By Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)

Newspapers are the original social media and most of those have evolved and adapted to the digital age, to spread the news in the most technologically advanced and ethically responsible manner possible. Professional journalists have belonged to, relied on and supported a variety of organizations, to network and develop their careers by taking advantage of the opportunities to continue to learn and grow. For professional journalists, or those who aspire to take a more professional approach to journalism, and do a better job of creating an awareness of important messages, there are many resourceful organizations that have helped to protect, and strengthen democracy.

Here are some of the leading organizations for journalists, including the mission of each:

1-Society of Professional Journalists 

SBJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating the high standards of ethical behavior. For more than 100 years, this organization has helped to perpetuate a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.

2-Investigative Reporters & Editors 

Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, news gathering techniques and news sources.

3-The Poynter Institute 

The Poynter Institute has grown from a storefront in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, to the world’s most influential school for journalists. Poynter is an instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens. They serve not only 21st-century democracies, but those in corners of the globe where people who honor freedom and self-government struggle against tyrants and autocrats.

4-Committee to Protect Journalists 

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal. CPJ protects the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are under threat.

5-Online News Association 

The Online News Association is the world’s largest digital journalism association. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, students, educators and other digital media professionals. ONA’s mission is to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.

6-National Press Photographers Association 

The National Press Photographers Association is dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism – its creation, practice, training, editing and distribution – in all news media and works to promote its role as a vital public service.

7-News Leaders Association 

NLA aims to foster and develop the highest standards of trustworthy, truth-seeking journalism; to advocate for open, honest and transparent government; to fight for free speech and an independent press; to nurture the next generation of news leaders committed to spreading knowledge that informs democracy. Their goal is for all citizens to be informed by accurate, truthful, independent reporting so they can demand the best from our democratic institutions.

8-American Society of Newspaper Editors 

ASNE has now joined forces with NLA.

9-Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the news gathering rights of journalists. The Reporters Committee serves news organizations, reporters, editors, documentary filmmakers, media lawyers, and many more who use their online resources.


This is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force to expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, and spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.

11-American Society of Journalist and Authors 

ASJA's mission is to be the voice and career resource for independent, entrepreneurial, professional nonfiction writers. Since 1948 ASJA has been giving freelance writers the confidence and connections to prosper.

12-Knight Foundation 

Their goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which they believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

13-Pew Research Center/ Journalism & Media

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

14-Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. The Association’s mission is to promote the highest possible standards for journalism and mass communication education, to cultivate the widest possible range of communication research, to encourage the implementation of a multi-cultural society in the classroom and curriculum, and to defend and maintain freedom of communication in an effort to achieve better professional practice and a better informed public.

15-The Center for Investigative Reporting 

They engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy. Founded as the nation’s first nonprofit investigative journalism organization, this organization has developed a

reputation for being among the most innovative, credible and relevant media organizations in the country.

16-The Center for Public Integrity 

Their mission is to protect democracy and inspire change using investigative reporting that exposes betrayals of the public trust by powerful interests.

17-American Press Institute 

The API advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. For democracies to thrive, people need accurate information about the problems of civil society and the debates over how to solve those. API is now affiliated with News Media Alliance.

18-News Media Alliance 

They are the leading voice for the news media industry. Their advocacy, proprietary research and events bring together today’s brightest minds to craft the news media business strategies of tomorrow.

19-Society for News Design 

This organization invents, makes, promotes and teaches the world’s best visual journalism.

20-The National Press Club 

The National Press Club is the World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™. It serves its members through professional development activities that bolster their skills, through services that meet the changing needs of the global communications profession and through social activities that build a vital media community in Washington and around the world. The Club is where news happens in the nation’s capital and is a vigorous advocate of press freedom worldwide.

21-The American Copy Editors Society 

They are an international members’ alliance of editors, working in digital media, traditional print media, corporate communications, book publishing, academia, government, and beyond. They work at your local paper, favorite website, and Fortune 500 companies. They are freelance editors, students, and professors. They’re united by a love of language and a passion for precision.

22-The Organization of News Ombudsmen and Standards Editors 

ONO has been committed to maintaining standards in the news industry, to transparency about those standards and to public accountability. A fundamental part of that role has always been a form of internal audit – to evaluate complaints from readers, listeners and viewers and at the same time, to explain how journalism works.

23-Fund for Investigative Journalism

The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded by Philip M. Stern, a public-spirited philanthropist who devoted his life “to balancing the scales of justice,” in the words of a friend. Stern was convinced small amounts of money invested in the work of determined journalists would yield enormous results in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed, and governmental corruption.

24-Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting 

The Pulitzer Center raises awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of education and public outreach. They are raising awareness of the interconnected nature of the greatest challenges of our times and pointing to possible solutions. They serve global public-interest journalism in a way few organizations can—by engaging wide audiences on deeply reported topics and inspiring the next generation to value credible news and cross-cultural understanding.

25-Nieman Foundation/Harvard 

Their mission is“ to promote and elevate the standards of journalism”.

26-National Newspaper Association 

Their mission is to protect, promote and enhance America's community newspapers.

27-Association of Health Care Journalists 

The AHCJ is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. AHCJ is classified as a 501(c)(6), a nonprofit professional trade association.

28-National Association for Science Writers 

The NASW is a community of journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. NASW promotes the professional interests of science writers nationally and globally, plays an active role in supporting efforts to ensure writers are paid for their work, and advocates for copyright protections for writers.

29-Institute for Nonprofit News 

Their mission is to provide education and business support services to their nonprofit member organizations and promote the value and benefit of public-service and investigative journalism.

30-Society of Environmental Journalists 

The SEJ is the only North American membership association of professional journalists dedicated to more and better coverage of environment-related issues. SEJ’s mission is to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues.

31-Association of Women in Sports Media 

The Association for Women in Sports Media is a 501(c)(3) organization whose female and male members support the advancement and growth of women – both professional and student – in sports media.

32-Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing 

SABEW was formed to promote superior coverage of business, economic events and issues.

33-National Association of Black Journalists: 

The NABJ is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to, and advocates on behalf of Black journalists worldwide.

34-National Association of Hispanic Journalists 

The NAHJ is the leading organization for Latinos in the media. They are dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry, plus excellence in coverage of the entire Latino community.

35-Asian American Journalists Association 

The AAJA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and Asia. Since its founding, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry.

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