Savvy web journalist, Dori Zinn leads award-winning SPJ Florida chapter

By Ireal James, SPJ Region 3 intern

As a journalist who specializes in multimedia and social media, Dori Zinn is running for re-election as Florida’s SPJ-Professional Chapter president for Region 3 in July.

Zinn, who is current president, said she is looking forward to further experience in the position as president.

“One year is kind of short so I want to give it another go,” said Zinn.

Dori Zinn photo
Dori Zinn

The position as SPJ-Professional Chapter President requires that the president arranges chapter meetings, calls in board meetings and keeps the general welfare of the chapter he/she is leading. While the duties are extensive, Zinn is no stranger to leading a group of journalists.

Previously, she has been the Vice President of Membership for the SPJ Florida Pro Chapter for five years. In that position she was instrumental, along with other SPJ Florida team members, to win the SPJ Chapter of the Year Award in both 2010 and 2014.

Before entering SPJ Florida leadership positions, Zinn would establish herself as a savvy journalist in web content. Her first job following college graduation from Florida Atlantic University was as communications assistant at the Association of Retail Environments, a company specializing in trade association in retail.

While the job was not in the field of journalism, Zinn said she was able to exercise her journalistic skills. During her time at the company she said she would help redesign and relaunch the company’s website, which would start her affinity toward web design.

“I’ve launched or relaunched a website for every job I have had,” she said.

Eventually, Zinn would work for several other companies in different journalism capacities including New Times Broward/ Palm Beach and Transforming Our Communities Health (TOUCH).

Zinn said she still uses her knowledge from previous jobs in her professional career as a full-time media journalist.

“They’ve all taught me patience and respect for management or others,” she said.

Zinn also freelances as an editor. However, after her recent layoff from Bundoo, one of the companies she would regularly work as an associate editor, Zinn said the decision is somewhat reminiscent of a breakup.

“I absolutely loved it there,” Zinn said. “It’s something that comes with any company, nothing is ever guaranteed,” she said.

Zinn said friends and colleagues have been there for her during her transition.

“The community of journalism is small, but it is supportive,” she said.

Today, Zinn and her husband are owners of Blossomers Media, a business that allows her to freelance and build a social media and website presence for businesses such as the South Florida Gay News as well as Money Talk News.

Executive Editor of the South Florida Gay News Jason Parsley agrees that Zinn’s presence at the business is an asset. He said he has known Zinn since college, where he was editor of the college’s newspaper, the University Press. He said Zinn has certainly grown and matured over the past 10 years.

“You don’t want to limit yourself… you have to be willing to change,” she said.

“I hire her on about a regular basis at the South Florida Gay News,” said Parsley. “She’s not afraid to ask poignant questions,” he said.

While Zinn will run for re-election this year, she said she will continue with her business, and if time allots, she will enjoy hobbies like reading and watching sports.

Zinn’s colleague and SPJ Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky said Zinn is someone who shows dedication to her work whether it is in freelancing or leading as Florida’s SPJ President.

“She can infuse something with her personality, but it’s still not opinionated,” said Koretzky. He said Zinn builds on the interests of those she works with as a leader.  

Zinn has advice for those who are considering journalism. Always be flexible in all positions you receive as a journalist.  

“You don’t want to limit yourself… you have to be willing to change,” she said.