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SPJ honors John Dycus and David Nicklaus with Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Professional Member Awards


For Immediate Release:

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org
Andrew M. Scott, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215, ascott@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor John Dycus and David Nicklaus with the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Professional Member Award.

Given annually, the award recognizes SPJ members who have made significant contributions to their SPJ chapters and regions. It is named for Howard S. Dubin, a longtime SPJ member who remains active with the national organization, local chapters and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the educational arm of SPJ.

The two recipients will be recognized Oct. 5 during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. Click here for a list of previous honorees.

John Dycus

John Dycus is a past board member of the SPJ Fort Worth professional chapter and was the first person to serve two terms as the chapter’s president. He initiated and maintains the chapter’s website along with its Web-based newsletter, the e-Chaser, whose advertising generates several thousand dollars annually. His format for the newsletter involves collaborating with the local chapters of the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.

According to his colleagues, Dycus is a key factor in every successful program and event the chapter puts on. He locates venues, invites significant guests and sells banquet tables to organizations from Rotary clubs to local political parties. Dycus encourages new journalists to join the chapter, recruits board members, coordinates membership notices and reminders, and organizes the logistics for those who travel to regional and national conferences.

“(The Fort Worth chapter) owes much of its continued financial health, excellent reputation, programmatic success and, probably, its continued existence to John,” past chapter president and current board member Eddye Gallagher wrote in her nomination letter. “None of us know what we or the chapter itself would have done without him in the last decade.”

"Being recognized for service to a cause is always gratifying, but this award is especially significant given the caliber of its namesake,” Dycus said. “By all accounts, in its darkest hour Mr. Dubin rescued SPJ, and his contributions, philosophical as well as fiscal, continue to this day. SPJ would do fine without me, but without Mr. Dubin, not so much. And now here we are hanging out on a plaque together. What an honor for me."

For 28 years Dycus was adviser for The Shorthorn, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Arlington and later was associate director of student publications. In addition to his work at UTA, Dycus has done consulting work for Atlantic Richfield’s regional communications division, written freelance features for The Dallas Morning News and Star-Telegram and covered the Republican Party’s state convention for the Texas Observer in 1978.

Dycus assisted in founding the Arlington Handicapped Association in 1977, now called Helping Restore Ability. The non-profit later named him Man of the Year in 1997. He served on the state Developmental Disabilities Council and received the Governor's Citation in 1974 for his contribution to state employment of the handicapped.

David Nicklaus

David Nicklaus first became an SPJ member through a student chapter at Drake University. Thirty-five years later, he remains not only a member, but someone who is deeply involved with the organization on both national and local levels.

During the past two decades, Nicklaus was elected three times as president of the St. Louis Pro chapter and served four years as SPJ’s Region 7 director. He has helped to support numerous programs with panels and speakers, acted as liaison with national and regional SPJ officials, and maintained the chapter’s finances.

Nicklaus continued to support the St. Louis chapter after it became inactive in 2000. And when the national organization decided to help restart the group, he was there, recruiting new members and working with an ad hoc committee to get the chapter back on its feet. Nicklaus has been on the chapter’s board of directors since 2006, doing everything from organizing trivia teams for the chapter’s annual fundraiser to co-chairing the Region 7 conference in 2009.

“He is someone whose professional life has set a high standard for those active in journalism,” St. Louis Pro chapter President Kelsey Volkmann wrote in her nomination letter. “And there are no signs that he’s even close to dampening his enthusiasm or commitment to SPJ.”

“I came to know Howard Dubin when we both served on the SPJ board in the 1990s, so I'm both humbled and deeply honored,” Nicklaus said after hearing of his selection. “This is also a great recognition for the St. Louis chapter, which a lot of people worked hard to revive in the past five years. I'm just happy to have played a small role in that success.”

Nicklaus’ journalism career spans 30 years. He currently writes as the business columnist and was the past business editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Before going to the Dispatch, he was a copy editor at the now-defunct Des Moines (Iowa) Tribune.

Only two outstanding professional member awards (one for chapters of 75 or more members and one for chapters with fewer than 75 members) may be given annually. Click here for more information on the award.

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 on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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