For Immediate Release:
Andrew M. Scott, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-927-8000 ext. 215, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists recently named John Ensslin, a legal affairs reporter at the Gazette in Colorado Springs, as SPJ’s 2010 Regional Director of the Year.
Ensslin served two years as the director for Region 9, which includes Colorado, where he helped create the Top of the Rockies journalism awards. Ensslin was also instrumental in reviving the region’s Rio Grande (New Mexico) Pro chapter, which had been dormant for 25 years.
See a map of SPJ regions here.
“John has been a true professional with regard to not only handling a fully operational region but in investing the time, energy and patience required to get a New Mexico chapter back on its feet after a 25-year ‘siesta’,” Rio Grande Chapter President Betsy Model said in her nomination letter. “He has shown nothing but professionalism during a grueling start-up, and I’m incredibly grateful for his calm demeanor.”
Throughout the process, Ensslin initiated the chapter’s first executive board, held its first elections and helped establish the chapter’s by-laws.
“(New Mexico) was a multi-year effort started by my predecessor Deb Hurley, and I made it my mission in life,” Ensslin said. “I’m overjoyed and I feel like I’m accepting it, but it is truly their award.”
Ensslin began his SPJ career as the Colorado Pro chapter’s programming director before serving two years as chapter president. During that time the chapter increased membership by 50 percent.
As national membership committee chairman, he expanded what was a two-person committee into a working group that included one member from nearly every region. His committee went on to create several national strategies, including the “I am SPJ” campaign that features full-page profile ads on outstanding members.
Ensslin also started “The Garden Center,” a blog that celebrates the Society’s successes, analyzed failures and shares tips on membership strategies that worked.
During the past year, Ensslin served on the committee that programmed the 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. He also authored the convention blog, “The Road to Vegas.” He was recently elected national secretary-treasurer and will continue service on the SPJ board of directors.
SPJ honors one outstanding Regional Director each year for exceptional service and contributions to his or her region and the Society during the preceding year. Nominations for the award are made by chapters or members. Ensslin was honored at the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet Tuesday, Oct. 5, during the SPJ Convention in Las Vegas. Click here for a list of previous honorees.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.