SPJ mourns death of Fellow of the Society Jerry Ceppos
Rebecca Aguilar, SPJ National President, 317-361-4134, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is mourning a Fellow of the Society and longtime journalist today as it grieves the passing of Jerry Ceppos.
“SPJ will remember Jerry as a true leader in journalism,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar. “Whether in the newsroom or in the classroom, Jerry inspired other journalists to have the courage and compassion to be committed truth seekers in our profession.”
In 2016, Ceppos was named a Fellow of the Society, SPJ’s highest professional honor, for being “an advocate for the industry, from educating students on journalism ethics to fighting for diversity in the newsroom.” He received the SPJ Ethics in Journalism Award in 1997, the first year it was awarded.
Ceppos’ journalism career spanned over 50 years, beginning at the Rochester Democrat in the early 1970s. He then served as an editor at the Miami Herald before moving to the San Jose Mercury News where he spent time as the managing editor, executive editor and senior vice president. During his time at the Mercury News, the newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes. He then became the top news officer of Knight Ridder, former owner of 32 daily papers, making it for a time the second largest publisher of newspapers in the United States.
Devoted to journalism education, Ceppos served as the dean at two journalism schools — Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Ceppos was an outstanding journalist and editor who increased newsroom diversity by creating new beats and reporting teams to cover previously overlooked populations. He remained committed to local journalism, even as a dean. While at LSU he started a news service to help fill a void left by declining mainstream news outlets, assigning student journalists to cover state government and undertake investigative projects.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and former students.
Ceppos will be buried in Miami during a private family service. A public celebration of his life will be held later.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.