This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are champions for journalists. For nearly 90 years, the Society of Professional Journalists awards have honored journalists and outlets for their crucial contributions to the profession. The awards are designed to recognize the very best in professional journalism across print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics and online.
For George Daniels, journalism is about the people you meet along the way. Looking back, he recalls the names of several mentors who helped him develop from high school on to college and in his career. Those five mentors he considers instrumental, saying they shaped his career in broadcast journalism and journalism/mass communication as a professor.
Belonging to SPJ holds a different meaning for each member. One in particular has dedicated her time to making sure every member has a sense of belonging and a meaningful experience with the organization. Since fifth grade, Robyn Davis Sekula knew she wanted to be a writer.
“New media, old values.” That’s what Chris Delboni believes journalism should be about today. This concept helped shape her career as a journalist and is how she now molds new journalists as an instructor at Florida International University. Delboni left her home in Brazil to study journalism in the United States.
Take advantage of opportunities around you. That’s what Chris Vaccaro has done, time after time, in his Long Island community of Sachem. That’s what he tries to instill in his journalism students at Hofstra University. That’s the living example he has displayed since age 15 at Sachem High School, where he began his sports journalism career and love of all things Sachem.
Being a mother and a crime/war freelance reporter means being teargassed by police officers in the middle of the Ferguson, Mo., protests while four months pregnant, or leaving behind your young son with his father to report on bombings in Israel.
She may not have always matched the color of her shoes or had the guts to approach people to interview, but with the help of SPJ and some comedy improv, her outlook changed. April Dudash was extremely shy as a child, so shy her mother had to force her just to talk on the phone with people.
If David Bulla’s career had a voice-activated GPS system, it would probably say, “Start driving on sports road, then merge onto journalism highway. From there, take a pit stop for more education and finally make an exit onto teaching street.” Alas, GPS systems don’t map out our futures so seamlessly (at least not yet).
In the fall of her junior year at the University of Georgia, Lindsey Cook found herself in the middle of one of the highest-profile campus media battles of all time. It began in August 2012, when Cook sat in an editorial meeting for The Red & Black, the university’s student newspaper.
One glance at Samaruddin Stewart’s LinkedIn is enough to overwhelm even the most accomplished journalists. He holds a bachelor’s in journalism and master’s in mass communication from Arizona State University. He was a photographer at three different newspapers in the Phoenix area.
One day over 10 years ago, Jeneé Osterheldt received a phone call from her professional mentor, Reginald Stuart. He was attending a journalism conference just two hours away from her in California, where she was completing an internship he had helped her acquire.
David Cuillier began his journalism career in a somewhat non-traditional fashion: fad diets. That was the topic of the first article he wrote for his high school newspaper, anyway. He’s come a long way since. On Aug. 26, Cuillier was installed as SPJ’s 97th president.
The online announcement of this year’s John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University is titled “Innovation from many corners.” One of those corners is SPJ. Alexa Schirtzinger, a board member of the Rio Grande Pro chapter, is one of the 12 U.S.
It’s likely you’ve heard the work of Sean Carberry. Perhaps you listened to WBUR in Boston while he produced and reported there. Maybe you liked Susan Tedeschi’s 1998 album “Just Won’t Burn,” for which Carberry received a Gold Record for his work as a recording engineer.
Meet Jason Parsley: He is the associate publisher and former editor-in-chief of the South Florida Gay News and president of the SPJ South Florida Pro chapter. Side note: He’s only six years out of college. “I always ask the students, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’”
Jennifer Peebles had always thought she would be a teacher. She may not work in a classroom now, but she has a student whose success speaks to her teaching ability: herself. Peebles (Twitter: @jpeebles) self-instructed much of her way from suburban reporter for The Tennessean to managing editor, digital, at the Washington Examiner.
Two years ago, Laura Amico searched Washington, D.C., for a job as a crime reporter. What she found: a community experiencing frequent homicides that received little to no news coverage. Intrigued and concerned, she began a new quest from a seat at her kitchen table, working with her husband to create Homicide Watch D.C.
Jeremy Steele isn’t a reporter. He’s not an editor or a producer, and he hasn’t worked at a news outlet since 2009. But he has always been tangled up in journalism, even after spending three years in public relations. In July, Steele started work as the executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association.
What do you do when no one is reporting the news you know is out there? Start your own international reporting non-profit. That’s what Sarah Stuteville did six years ago, when she and two high school buddies from Washington state graduated college in New York City and found themselves unsatisfied with the international coverage available to them.
For some people, a code of ethics is a nice reminder of how to behave. For others, it’s a lifeline. Jerry Roberts first became interested in professional ethics in the mid-1990s, when he says the American Society of News Editors, National Newspaper Association and other organizations began to emphasize establishing and bolstering the public’s trust in newspapers.
Some reporters settle into their ideal career after many years of job hopping and soul searching. Then there are those who seem destined for journalism from the first time they touch a typewriter. Austin Kiplinger, editor emeritus of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, is the latter.
“If you lived on flat ground, we wouldn’t talk to you.” That’s what an interview subject and fellow Coloradoan once said to Barbara Ford, a High Timber Times reporter. She acknowledges that life on flat ground really is different than in the high mountains of Conifer, Colo.
Sheri Fink is a medical doctor and an accomplished investigative journalist. Her work on health, medicine and science has been published in The New York Times, Discover and Scientific American. She has won numerous awards and has taught courses at Harvard and Tulane.
Shannon Farhoud is one of two co-founding presidents for SPJ’s student chapter at Northwestern University in Qatar. In her words, Farhoud is considered a “cultural sushi” because of her mixed background. Her father is Syrian while her mother is Portuguese and Indian.
Stored in a San Francisco den are the 1941 newspapers by a young boy named Samuel Goldman from when he was editor of Marwedel Summer Camp’s newspaper, Redwood Chips, in Mendocino County, Calif. Hanging on the nearby wall above his computer is a November 1933 newspaper photo of an even younger Goldman, at 6 years old, wearing a football helmet, holding the game ball and sitting on the lap of University of California football coach Bill Ingram.
From covering the emotional farming crisis during the Reagan administration, to his efforts to shed light on the civil rights era, Hank Klibanoff has spent his life telling important stories that have affected people’s livelihoods. Klibanoff is well known, along with co-author Gene Roberts, for the book “The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation,” which reflects on how the media covered the civil rights movement.
In a matter of days, Amber Stearns went from becoming a member of the Society of Professional Journalists to an Indiana Pro chapter board member to the chapter’s No. 2 vice president. She didn’t even have a chance to pay her dues yet.
Portions of this article appeared in [b]a June 17 SPJ Works blog post. Richard Roth delivered his hometown morning newspaper, the Evansville Courier, every day when he was in sixth grade. When he got home, his father would already be awake.
It all began with a robot. Aiesha Little’s high school did not have a newspaper or a yearbook, so she tried math- and science-related extracurricular activities. But after a particularly memorable experience at a tech camp she attended outside school, she left the event knowing math and science were not for her.
When Jessica Durkin was laid off from The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa., she did anything but mope. The day the paper cut staff in March 2009 was the beginning of Durkin’s post-reporting career, a career that has led in new directions.
The state of the economy is in the spotlight, and the nation’s youth is a group uniquely affected by the cutbacks and rising unemployment rates. Negative effects on the media industry are severely apparent, but to Ohio University’s Taylor Mirfendereski, there is no better time to pursue broadcast journalism.
Graduation days are times of celebration and reflection, opportunities to commemorate remarkable accomplishments and ruminate over one’s path to success. And when the graduate is the first in her family to attend college, journalists take notice of a potential feel-good feature story.