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Emily Bloch and Brian Eckert recognized for outstanding contributions with Howard Dubin Award


Matthew Kent, Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788, mkent@spj.org
Ashlynn Neumeyer, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-361-4133, aneumeyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has selected Emily Bloch and Brian Eckert to receive the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award for contributions to their SPJ chapters and regions.

Each year, this award is given to no more than two members — one from a chapter of 75 or more members and one from a chapter of less than 75 members. The award is in honor of Howard Dubin, longtime member of SPJ’s Chicago Headline Club. Dubin not only contributes time and money to the Society, but also remains dedicated to service at the chapter level.

Emily Bloch is the SPJ Florida president. Just in the past year, Bloch has led the Fake News TM project, which was covered by 60 media outlets. She leads a diverse chapter board — a result of her personally recruiting directors. And SPJ Florida won Large Chapter of the Year at Excellence in Journalism 2019, its fifth time winning the honor.

Additionally, Bloch helped create the Fake News gameshow, where she partnered with the Palm Beach County library system to host the show before the pandemic. Even before the events of this year played out, she was leading webinars on a range of topics from the #MeToo movement to Black Lives Matter to how to handle getting detained as a journalist. Lastly, Bloch encouraged her chapter to get involved in newsroom union efforts, which SPJ has not traditionally done.

Brian Eckert joined SPJ as a TV news director in 1987 and served as the SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter president in 2003-05, where he led the group to two Outstanding Professional Chapter of the Year awards. He also served as SPJ Region 2 director in 2009-13 and was twice named Regional Director of the Year. Eckert has been said to be the reason the Virginia Pro Chapter exists, as he recruited a slate of SPJ stalwarts to serve on the chapter’s board, scheduled organizational meetings and rebuilt the chapter from the ground up after it began to decline. The chapter now has more than 60 members and is growing.

Eckert, who previously served on the SPJ Executive Committee and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Board, is currently serving as the chapter’s treasurer for the fifth time and is a trustee and executive director-treasurer of Virginia Pro’s SDX Educational Foundation. The Virginia Pro Chapter collected more than a dozen letters of recommendation and other testimonials about Brian’s service to SPJ.

Bloch and Eckert will be recognized at the SPJ2020 Journalism Conference, Sept. 12-13.

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