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Asra Q. Nomani and Barbara Feinman Todd honored with 2011 Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award


For Immediate Release:

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210,
Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Georgetown University professors Asra Q. Nomani and Barbara Feinman Todd with the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.

Nomani and Feinman Todd are both accomplished professional journalists, but it is their outstanding gift for teaching and remarkable impact on student journalists that earned the pair the award. They will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference Sept. 25-27 in New Orleans. The conference is co-hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association.

They were nominated for their team leadership in the Pearl Project, an investigative, hands-on course for Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students to uncover the truth behind the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Nomani and Feinman Todd are praised by students for their dedication not only to fine journalism, but for igniting “a passion within us to pursue truth and justice.”

The Pearl Project adopts the environment of a newsroom, providing students specific beats while reporting on real-world issues. Students learn through experience what Nomani and Feinman Todd exhibit in their teaching—that the journalism community has the power through reporting to hold accountable those responsible for crimes against journalists. After publishing the findings of the Pearl Project earlier this year, the project has continued with investigations into other attacks on journalists. The Pearl Project was funded and supported by Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.*

Feinman Todd, director of Georgetown’s undergraduate journalism program, joined Nomani of the English department to teach this course, but let students take the lead in all areas of reporting, from tracking down sources to speaking publicly on the information they uncover. Students consistently mention the compassion, journalistic integrity, and profound respect for students that both women possess. On the emotionally and politically risky subject of crimes against journalists around the world, the professors help students navigate the confusing and intimidating process of uncovering truths and sharing them with the international community.

SPJ’s Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award honors outstanding journalism educators who have made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education. Students, former students, alumni, colleagues and professionals may submit nominations. All journalism educators are eligible, regardless of SPJ membership. Click here for more information.

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, please visit


*8/8/2011: This news release was updated to mention the funders of the Pearl Project.

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