A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ recognizes outstanding work on college campuses

By Quill

The Society of Professional Journalists presented three awards to individuals for their contributions on college campuses. Charles N. Davis received the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award. Colorado State University graduate Aimee Heckel received the Julie Galvan Outstanding Campus Chapter Member Award. And the University of Washington’s Roger Simpson received the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. Davis was chosen for the award for his role in turning around a defunct SPJ campus chapter at the Missouri School of Journalism. When he arrived at Missouri in 1998, he inherited the chapter, and now, three years later, the group has nearly 100 members and an outstanding executive committee. “SPJ has been so important to me professionally, and I knew that at Missouri, all it needed was a spark,” Davis said. “These students are so dedicated to journalism, and SPJ fights to protect journalism, so it was just a matter of getting them started. The world’s first school of journalism deserves nothing less than the best SPJ chapter in the world.” Davis serves as executive director of the Freedom of Information Center at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and is an assistant professor in the News-Editorial Department. He has been an SPJ member since 1986 and has served as a campus chapter adviser for three different universities and as president of the Dallas Pro Chapter. Davis also served as adviser at large on the national board of SPJ. The Outstanding Campus Chapter Adviser Award, initiated in 1978, is presented annually to the person who has made an exceptional contribution to the campus chapter for which he or she serves as SPJ adviser. In 1993, the SPJ board voted to change the award name to the David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award in order to honor Mr. Eshelman, a longtime member of the Society and board parliamentarian, who was killed in 1983. Heckel was chosen as the outstanding graduate, recognizing her leadership as president of the SPJ Colorado State University Campus Chapter, her excellent academic record, her ability to balance schoolwork with a full-time job in the journalism field and her intensive volunteer work in her community. Heckel now works as an education reporter for the Daily Reporter-Herald in Loveland, Colo. “Her outstanding credentials and experiences outlined in (her) resume leave me wondering how she found the time to do it all,” wrote Kris Kodrich, assistant professor and SPJ adviser at Colorado State, in a nomination letter for Heckel. At the close of the college year, each campus chapter of the Society selects one outstanding graduate in journalism on the basis of character, service to the community, scholarship, proficiency in practical journalism and significant contributions to his or her SPJ chapter. From this group, the Society’s leaders select one graduate who is considered most outstanding for national recognition. The award is named in memory of Julie Galvan, a former president of the SPJ San Jose State University Campus Chapter, who was killed in a car accident in 1996. Simpson, an associate professor at the University of Washington, directed the first Western Conference on Journalism and Trauma in March 1996 at the University of Washington. He now is the director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington, a resource center on emotional trauma for news organizations and journalism schools. Simpson secured a five-year, $1 million grant from the Dart Foundation to establish the center. He has written several publications on journalism and trauma, including “Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting about Victims and Trauma,” and is co-founder of an innovative annual workshop on reporting about AIDS for high school students. “Professor Simpson has, with colleagues, developed a new field: journalism and trauma,” wrote Dr. Frank M. Ochberg, adjunct professor of journalism at Michigan State University, in a nomination letter. “The field is burgeoning. Journalism students are learning how to interview without re-victimizing victims. Reporters are seeking the hidden stories of trauma and recovery. Veteran media professionals are openly discussing their own post-traumatic issues. At the center of this field, with modesty and tenacity, Roger Simpson leads by example.” Simpson joined the University of Washington’s School of Communications faculty in 1973 after earning his doctorate and has twice served as the school’s graduate director. He received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism at the University of Washington in 1959 and earned a master of science degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin in 1962. He worked as a business and economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The Detroit Free Press. “I see this recognition from SPJ as support for our commitment to preparing journalism students for the sometimes harsh reality of the work they’ll do,” Simpson said. “We need journalists who can tell us accurately and sensitively about the pain and courage of those who suffer traumatic injury.” The Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award is presented annually to an outstanding journalism teacher who has made a significant contribution to the journalism profession and /or journalism education. Students, former students, colleagues and department heads, as well as professionals in the field, make nominations for the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. Anyone teaching in the field of journalism is eligible, although nominees are usually members of SPJ.