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The closing awards banquet of the SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference on Saturday night was all about good food, good company and recognizing the men and women whose accomplishments in journalism earned them the respect of SPJ and their peers.
“I really wish that more companies in the journalism business were willing to support SPJ,” said Bill McCloskey said on accepting the Wells Key, the highest honor SPJ gives a member for service to the society. “There is important work being done here.”
Congratulations to this year’s SPJ award winners:
Wells Memorial Key: Bill McCloskey
McCloskey’s service to SPJ has included being national parliamentarian, serving 10 years as chair of the bylaws committee and serving as Region 2 director in the Washington, D.C., area.
Regional Director of the Year: Ann Augherton, Region 2 Director
Augherton has dedicated commendable amounts of time to SPJ at the expense of her personal and professional life. “Ann is a tireless worker and a devoted advocate of the work of SPJ,” said outgoing president Clint Brewer in a press release. “We recognize with this award how her efforts have positively impacted not only her region, but every member of the society.”
Chapters of the Year: Western Washington and Southwest Missouri Pro Chapters
The large Western Washington Chapter hosted many programs and workshops and used its Web site to inform chapter members and the journalism community. The smaller Southwest Missouri chapter recruited members through social gatherings and hosted programs to benefit the journalism community. This award honors one large chapter (75 members or more) and one small chapter (less than 75) for excellence in supporting SPJ’s missions, members and the profession.
Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Members: Jean Ash and Richard D. Hendrickson
Ash has been a member of the East Tennessee pro chapter since the 1970s and has served in every elected position on its board. She has been the chapter’s communications director for the past several years. Hendrickson is past president of the Cleveland chapter and established a tri-chapter oversight committee that improved the Ohio chapters’ entries and financial success. He is also one of SPJ’s Sunshine Law experts.
Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award: Jim Schaefer and Mike L. Elrick
Schaefer and Elrick tore themselves away from an ongoing breaking story to accept the award and $10,000, in honor of their work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms. Shaefer and Elrick broke the news of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s lies while under oath, which resulted in his resignation Thursday, a fine of $1 million and his being placed on five years’ probation and losing his law license. In their acceptance speech, Schaefer thanked two of Michigan’s laws for helping them; the shield law and the Freedom of Information Act. The team received two standing ovations for their work.
Ethics in Journalism Award: Glen Mabie
Mabie resigned from WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wis., over paid press coverage when his company made an agreement with Sacred Heart Hospital. “I was faced with insubordination of my own boss…or telling my staff they were going to sell the news to the highest bidder,” he said. This award honors those who distinguish themselves by holding to the SPJ Code of Ethics.
Sunshine Awards: Robert Faturechi, Teri Henning and Laurie Roberts
Faturechi is a student reporter from the UCLA Bruin who created a beat devoted to investigations. Henning is a lawyer who trains Pennsylvania Newspaper Association members about open records law. Roberts is a columnist at the Arizona Republic who investigated child abuse cases and brought a public records lawsuit against Child Protective Services. The Sunshine Awards recognizes those making important contributions in the area of open government.
First Amendment Awards: Toni Locy and the Illinois First Amendment Center
Locy, a professor of legal reporting at Washington & Lee University, was a reporter from USA Today who covered the anthrax mailings in 2001 and received a tip that Stephen J. Hatfill was a person of interest in the case. Hatfill sued the Department of Justice, which subpoenaed Locy and fined her $50,000 when she would not reveal her source of that information. She is still waiting a ruling from her appeal.
Fellows of the Society: Albert P. Smith Jr., Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Tim Russert
The Fellows of the Society honor is presented to journalists for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Smith began his journalism career as a copy boy and ended up buying several rural Kentucky newspapers, which have won several journalism awards. Hunter-Gault is a foreign correspondent for NPR. Tim Russert, who died in June, was an NBC News reporter and managing editor of “Meet the Press.”