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SPJ honors three individuals for extraordinary contributions to journalism


For Immediate Release

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 972-8000 ext. 210,
Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Richard (Dick) Goehler, Grover Cleveland Hall and Lane DeGregory as Fellows of the Society. This highest honor given by the Society is awarded for extraordinary contribution to the profession.

The Fellows will be honored Sept. 27 at the President’s Installation Banquet, at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference in New Orleans. Honorees receive a jeweled key and a plaque. Click here for a list of previous honorees.

Dick Goehler
Before his death in March 2011, attorney Richard M. “Dick” Goehler of Cincinnati dedicated his career to defending journalists’ rights and educating professionals and students about media law. As a litigator for Frost Brown Todd LLC, Goehler was a premier media and First Amendment defender. He served the Cincinnati community on several tourism and visitors’ boards.

Goehler was also a member of national law and journalism organizations, including chairman of the board of directors of the Student Press Law Center, where he was a leader in promoting the availability of free legal services to student journalists in need of assistance. Through Frost Brown Todd, Goehler helped win a significant victory for student media in Kincaid v. Gibson in 2001.

In a press release from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press following Goehler’s death, RCFP executive director and longtime SPJ member Lucy Dalglish explained, “Dick had an incredible impact on both professional media and student journalists around the country…He was a man who made a difference, and we will miss his cheerful enthusiasm and support for a free press for many years to come.”

Grover Cleveland Hall
An outspoken challenger of the Ku Klux Klan, Grover Cleveland Hall was a true champion of a free press. He was editor of the Montgomery Advertiser and a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1928 for his series of editorials exposing Klan crimes.

Hall became so widely known and liked that when his cat Clarabelle died, The Associated Press ran a national obituary. At the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 1994, the Southern Writers Project produced a play, “Grover,” about his struggles at work and in his personal life.

Hall died in 1941, but the memory of him was recently rekindled after his 19th century home in Montgomery was demolished.* The house was named an SPJ Historic Site in Journalism in 1948.

Lane DeGregory
Lane DeGregory is a features writer for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, covering “people in the shadows.” Her work has won numerous national journalism awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the 2008 American Society of News Editors Award for non-deadline writing, and the 2007 Ernie Pyle Award from the Scripps-Howard Foundation for human interest writing.

The selection committee was impressed with DeGregory’s knack for bringing readers into the lives of people living on the margins of society. As a reporter on real people’s lives, DeGregory’s commitment to staying in touch with the people she writes about is noteworthy.

“Besides her excellent writing,” explained John Ensslin, a member of the selection committee, “what clinched this honor for DeGregory is her willingness to help share her knowledge with other younger journalists who aspire to learn the craft she has mastered so well.”

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.


*Correction: An earlier version of this release stated that the Hall House was planned to be demolished, when in fact, it has already been demolished.

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