“The new Club is an opportunity to build on the FCCJ traditions while also facing up to the challenges confronting journalism as a whole.
Journalism is like an insurance policy: you don’t realize how much you need it until basic democratic freedoms and civil society are under threat.”
How do we get the Club out of this downward spiral of complaints, pessimism, looking back instead of forward? The Club seems to be suffering from collective depression. The occasional Member trying to stop it soon loses his or her enthusiasm due to the negative attacks of members who while claiming to have the best interest of the Club at heart do everything they can to take the Club back into the twentieth century.
With the benefit of hindsight there is no doubt that the Club in its recent past has made some unfortunate decisions. Moreover, execution of such decisions has not always been particularly successful. Yet that is where we are at the moment, and objectively the Club is in a good position to reclaim some of its old glory with a number of active programs, a prestigious location, and modern facilities.
The world of media has changed and this Club will never again be the correspondents’ club it once was. But that does not mean the end of the Club as a journalists’ club. It is an opportunity to make the Club more inclusive. First of all, bring more of a broader range of journalists and writers to the Club. Secondly, bring interesting business people to the Club as Associate Members.
Most of all, bring younger Members to the Club. No previous board has ever identified and sounded the alarm bells about the gradual aging of the membership. We are taking in a good number of new Members but we are losing Members to natural causes faster that we can replace them and this process has been going on for more than 10 years.
These membership statistics, however, can be addressed in a positive way by good marketing. What is much more difficult but of higher priority at the moment is to pull the Club out of its present depressed, negative state. Many seem to be scared of new initiatives, afraid of the future. Old customs and practices cannot be changed. The internal fiefdoms have to be maintained.
Will Members who have often justified complaints take on a positive, proactive role and either take or support initiatives to reactivate the Club and truly take it into the twenty first century? Will they, for instance, join committees, help organize events that will bring more young people to the club, identify possible new Members?
– Willem Kortekaas
Associate Member & Treasurer