The Society of Professional Journalists now includes within its ranks…citizen journalists. The 100-year-old journalism organization is partnering with Helium, the Digg-meets-citizen-journalism writers’ site, by inviting 6,000 of Helium’s writers to become SPJ members.

The move isn’t just an official validation of citizen journalists’ esteem in the eyes of their more traditional counterparts; it’s also a recognition that the skills many citizen journalists have are ones that traditional journalists want to build.

“SPJ has always been committed to inspiring and educating current and future journalists through professional development,” SPJ President Dave Aeikens said in the press release announcing the collaboration. “Partnering with Helium allows us to continue this commitment by providing a vital stepping stone for our members to establish and build their digital credibility, while also opening our doors and embracing those who wish to become better citizen journalists.”

More here.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.