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Terry Harper Memorial Scholarships
Meet the Recipients
This year, SPJ awarded four convention scholarships in memory of Terry Harper, SPJs executive director from 2002 to 2009. The following people were selected to receive Harper Memorial Scholarships to attend the Excellence in Journalism 2018 Conference in Baltimore.
Brian Champagne worked 22 years in television news, for four affiliates in four markets. He served as Chief Photographer for KTXL-TV in Sacramento, but worked in front of the camera, too.
He now teaches Broadcast Journalism full-time at Utah State University, but connects the professional and academic worlds by doing stringer, freelance, and contract work for all stations in the Salt Lake City DMA and beyond. The SPJ Code of Ethics is on tests for two of his classes.
He enters SPJ contests both as a professional and as adviser to A-TV News, the USU student newscast.
Chas Hundley is the founder of Firestarter Media, a small newspaper publishing company in NW Oregon. Hundley launched his career in journalism by launching an online news publication fresh out of high school in 2013.
In 2017, he turned it into a print newspaper and went into journalism full time. At the time, he was just 22 years old - the youngest newspaper owner and publisher on the West Coast.
Since then, hes gone on to win the 2017 Rookie of the Year award for the Oregon Territory chapter of the SPJ, launched another print newspaper, and started a handful of other digital news publications, mostly serving rural Oregon communities. Hes also the founder of the Oregon Public Journal, a statewide effort to bring a nonprofit print and digital newspaper to Oregon. Hundley lives in Gales Creek, Oregon with his wife, Shannon, and pet cactus, Earl.
Nancy Cook Lauer
Nancy Cook Lauer has more than 25 years experience as a journalist, winning national and state awards for newspapers in Florida and Hawaii. She's currently a reporter for the daily newspaper West Hawaii Today and publishes a state government news aggregate and commentary blog, All Hawaii News. Vice President of the Hawaii SPJ chapter as well as former president of the Big Island Press Club, Lauer has a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, summa cum laude, from Old Dominion University. She earned her reporting chops covering the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election at Florida's ground zero and was recently honored with a Torch of Light award and a Hawaii state Senate commendation for uncovering questionable spending practices in local government. You can find her on all the usual social media sites.
Haisten Willis has been an avid reader and consumer of news for as long as he can remember, and began a formal career as a writer and journalist in 2008.
After beginning his career working for newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area, in 2016 Haisten broke out on his own as a full-time freelancer. He has written on a variety of topics ranging from college football to business, politics and real estate for outlets including Vox Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Washington Post.
Haisten holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia Southern University and a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from California State University, Fresno. He is the 2018 president of the Society of Professional Journalists Georgia pro chapter.