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Seib, Shepard, Pintak honored as Fellows of the Society for outstanding service to journalism


Abbi Martzall, SPJ Awards Coordinator, 317-920-4791, amartzall@spj.org
Rachel Semple, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, rsemple@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes Jerry Seib, Stephen Shepard and Lawrence Pintak as Fellows of the Society, the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ, for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.

Gerald F. Seib is currently executive Washington editor and author of the Capital Journal column for The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Seib has worked for The Wall Street Journal since 1978; His start was in the Dallas bureau covering business, and since then he has covered Washington, Cairo and the Iran-Iraq war.

“Jerry has been an outstanding colleague to his peers and teacher to younger journalists. An entire generation of Wall Street Journal editors and reporters, plus the alumni who populate almost every major newsroom in America, are imbued with his sense of propriety and fairness” said Gerard Baker, Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal. “Even after being falsely accused of spying for Israel by radicals in the revolutionary regime in Iran in the 1980s, he emerged after four days of imprisonment in one of the worst of the regime's jails showing neither bitterness nor fear.”

Seib has held leadership roles in the National Press Foundation and has taught by example an “entire generation of Wall Street Journal editors and reporters, plus the alumni who populate almost every major newsroom in America.” At the beginning of 2017, Seib ended his second stint as Washington bureau chief and became the Journal’s executive Washington editor, focusing on his column, video and television work, Journal conferences and oversight of the Journal’s daily Washington newsletter.

Stephen Shepard was nominated for his remarkable contributions to journalism after many years as a practicing journalist and editor, and later the founding dean of the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism for eight years before retiring in 2013.

“Every August for the seven years I worked with him, Steve Shepard would make sure to grab the first copy of the directory of new students – a pamphlet bursting with dozens of unfamiliar names, pictures and details. Then he’d take the directory home and memorize it. That, to him, was a key part of his job as founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism – as important as leading the creation, development and rapid growth of a new journalism school at a crucial point in the profession’s history,” said Jere Hester, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Director of News Products and Projects and Director of Reporting and Writing. “As a seasoned leader, he knew the importance of the personal touch – and he practiced it. As a journalist, he knew that everybody’s got a story worth learning.”

In his career, Shepard also served in multiple roles as an accomplished business reporter, serving as senior editor of Newsweek, editor of Saturday Review and editor-in-chief for BusinessWeek from 1984 to 2005 in what many colleagues refer to as ‘the Shepard era.’ From 1992-94, Shepard was president of the American Society of Magazine Editors. Shepard is the author of a journalistic memoir published in 2012: “Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path from Print to Digital.”

Lawrence Pintak is a veteran journalist and journalism educator who has left an impact on the industry across four continents. As the founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University and former CBS News Middle East correspondent, his work has focused on journalism in the Muslim world and preparing American journalists to cover Islam.

“The range, depth, and relevance of Larry's professional experiences across cultures distinguish him from the many other fine journalists and scholars I have known during my own career. His particular strength is his deep, level-headed, and accurate knowledge of Arab and Islamic societies and their many nuances and varieties” said Rami G. Khouri, Senior Public Policy Fellow and professor of journalism, American University of Beirut. “Both as a journalist and an academic scholar, he has set an example of constructive engagement with foreign cultures that differ from his own.”

Pintak is also the co-editor of Islam for Journalists, a free e-book with a companion “Covering Islam” course on Poynter’s News U website; he was the director of the graduate journalism program at The American University in Cairo, the only such degree in the Arab world at the time; he worked to provide grant-funded programs that provided free training to more than 1,000 working journalists in the years leading up to the Arab Spring; and Pintak also helped conceive and currently advises the U.S. Department of State on Pakistan’s Center for Excellence in Journalism

Seib, Shepard and Pintak will be honored as Fellows of the Society at the Excellence in Journalism 2017 conference in Anaheim, California, Sept. 7-9. During the President’s Installation Banquet on Sept. 9, they will each receive a jeweled key and plaque for their contributions. A list of previous honorees is available here.

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