SPJ awards 2010 Wells Key to Irwin Gratz
For Immediate Release:
Andrew M. Scott, Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 215, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAS VEGAS – The Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism association, is pleased to honor Irwin Gratz as the 2010 Wells Memorial Key recipient.
The award, presented Tuesday, Oct. 5 during the President’s Installation Banquet at SPJ’s convention in Las Vegas, is the highest honor bestowed by SPJ on a member. Click here for a list of previous honorees.
“SPJ has made for me many dear acquaintances and friends,” Gratz said during his acceptance speech. “All I have given to the Society pales in comparison to what the Society has given me.”
Gratz has been a member of SPJ since 1983 and has held positions as professional chapter president, member of its national board and was the Society’s 2004-05 national president.
He is the secretary of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, SPJ’s associated educational arm, and was a crucial member in organizing the Society’s centennial celebration in 2009.
“Irwin Gratz personifies what an SPJ member and SPJ leader should be. He is someone who is always there standing behind the organization,” past SPJ president Dave Aeikens said in his nomination letter. “He looks out for its best interests first and he is always willing to step up and serve when needed. Much of what Gratz does, one does not notice because he is so low key and works so well behind the scenes.”
Gratz has been in radio news for nearly 30 years. He worked as a reporter, anchor and news director for the top-rated commercial station in Portland, Maine, before switching to public radio in 1992 as the local anchor of “Morning Edition.”
A native of New York City, Gratz holds a master’s in journalism from New York University. He has taught a college course on media ethics and has been a guest lecturer on journalism ethics and broadcast news writing.
Gratz lives outside of Portland, Maine, with his wife and son.
The Wells Key was first presented in 1913. The award is named for Chester B. Wells, Sigma Delta Chi’s second national president who died in office in 1913 at age 26. Wells’ brief time in office was marked by an inspiring dedication to the work and ideals of Sigma Delta Chi, and after his death, members decided to award a jeweled key each year in his memory to a member who had performed meritorious service to the Society.
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, visit www.spj.org.