Professional organizations make the transition from being a student to working in the field a little easier and provide resources to network, participate in professional development events, and provide a community outside of the university setting. Some of the organizations listed below have partner student groups and local Seattle chapters, while others operate nationally. This is just a short list of all the organizations that are available for Communication professionals to join.
Association for Women in Communication
The AWC provides networking, professional development, job opportunities, and a supportive community of specialists from a wide range of communications fields, including print and broadcast journalism, television and radio production, film, advertising, public relations, marketing, graphic design, and photography. With a mix of communicators – from small business owners to corporate employees, and recent graduates to retirees – AWC draws strength from a membership marked by diversity and collaboration. Founded in 1909 as Theta Sigma Phi at the UW, AWC continues to grow and change as the discipline evolves. AWC’s mission is to “champion the advancement of women across all communication disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era.” Visit the Seattle Chapter’s website.
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts. Visit the Western Washington Chapter’s website.
Public Relations Student Society of America
The Puget Sound chapter of PRSA has served Western Washington for 53 years. We provide networking and professional development for our members while advancing the profession and fostering understanding within the communities we serve.
Public relations professionals in the Puget Sound region have played vital, strategic roles in business, government and education. We have helped launch commercial airliners and computer software, a World’s Fair and the Space Needle. We’ve strategized for major political figures and played critical roles in governments bringing change to the Pacific Northwest. Visit the Puget Sound Chapter’s website.
Asian American Journalists Association
Founded in 1981, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a non-profit professional and educational organization with more than 2,000 members. Since 1985, Seattle’s AAJA chapter has provided scholarships for students, professional development for journalists, and service to the community in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle chapter promotes the association’s three-part mission:
- To encourage young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to enter the ranks of journalism
- To promote fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
- To increase the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists and news managers in the industry
Seattle Association of Black Journalists
The Seattle Association of Black Journalists is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a group of more than 3,000 African Americans working in the media. It is an organization for journalists, student journalists, journalism professors, advertising and public relations professionals. It is one of the largest and oldest media groups in the Northwest. Its members work in public relations, radio, television, advertising, online and print journalism. They are editors, reporters, television anchors, executives, artists, video and still photographers. SABJ has been the conduit to which many journalists have gained successful employment in the Seattle-Tacoma media market. Visit the Seattle Chapter’s website.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. The goals of the association are:
- To organize and provide mutual support for Hispanics involved in the gathering or dissemination of news.
- To encourage and support the study and practice of journalism and communications by Hispanics.
- To foster and promote a fair treatment of Hispanics by the media.
- To further the employment and career development of Hispanics in the media.
- To foster a greater understanding of Hispanic media professionals’ special cultural identity, interests, and concerns.
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
Founded in 1990, NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students that works within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members. Visit the national website.
Native American Journalists Association
The Native American Journalists Association serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native culture. NAJA recognizes Native Americans as distinct peoples based on tradition and culture. In this spirit, NAJA educates and unifies its membership through journalism programs that promote diversity and defends challenges to free press, speech, and expression. NAJA is committed to increasing the representation of Native journalists in mainstream media. NAJA encourages both mainstream and tribal media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and responsibility. Visit the national website.
Online News Association
Composed largely of professional digital journalists, the Online News Association was founded in 1999 and has more than 2,200 professional members whose principal livelihood involves gathering or producing news for digital presentation. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, photographers, technologists, and other who produce news for the Internet or other digital delivery systems, as well as academic members and others interested in the development of online journalism. Visit the national website.