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SPJ Madison hosts 100th anniversary celebration of Wells Memorial Key, the Society’s highest honor



Contact: Mark Pitsch, president, Society of Professional Journalists, Madison pro chapter: 608-252-6145

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce a two-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of SPJ’s Wells Memorial Key. The key is the highest honor for service to the Society, and the celebration honors the nearly three dozen living Wells Key winners. The celebration will also honor Chester Wells, a 1913 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and the second national president of Sigma Delta Chi, as SPJ was originally known.

The event will take place May 31 and June 1 in Madison at Union South on the University of Wisconsin campus. It will feature an address by David Maraniss, author of “Barack Obama: The Story” and “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi;” an educational discussion about the future of journalism; a historical tribute to Wells and a special screening of “Deadline USA.” Also as part of the celebration, SPJ will partner with the Wisconsin State Historical Society for a special display of historical newspaper archives.

About one-half of the living Wells Key winners and numerous national and regional SPJ and Sigma Delta Chi Foundation officers are expected to attend.

The entire schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 31
2 to 4 p.m.: Special display and discussion of famous/historical newspaper archives at Wisconsin State Historical Society
5 p.m.: Reception
6 p.m.: Dinner with speaker David Maraniss, author of “Barack Obama: The Story” and “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.”

Saturday, June 1
10 a.m. to noon: “Journalism Issues Past and Future”

Moderator: Robert Leger, former SPJ president; 2012 Wells Key winner; president, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; opinions editor, The Arizona Republic

Panelists: Steve Geimann, former SPJ president; Wells Key winner; former president and current director, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; news editor, Bloomberg News; Gordon McKerral, former SPJ president; Wells Key winner; director, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; associate professor, School of Journalism and Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University; Amanda Theisen, SPJ Region 6 director; news producer, KSTP in Minneapolis; and Lauren Fuhrmann, vice president, Madison Pro chapter; public engagement director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Noon to 2 p.m.: Lunch with speaker UW-Madison journalism professor James L. Baughman on the “Changing Face of Journalism”
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Screening of “Deadline USA”

Registration is $75 for all events. Separate registration is available for Friday for $55 and for Saturday for $30. To register, please use this Eventbrite website: http://2013wellskey.eventbrite.com/#

Hotel rooms have been reserved at Union South, the site of the event, for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The rate is $127 and it includes underground parking and Wi-Fi. Reservations must be made by April 30. Call 608-263-2600 and mention the Wells Key Seminar to get one of the reserved rooms. Reserve online with the group code WELLSKEY at https://www.myfidelio.net/webui/AvailabilitySearch.aspx?chain=IQ&property=USWUH

Please contact Terry Shelton, Commemoration Committee, Wells Memorial Key Anniversary at shelton@lafollette.wisc.edu or 608.262.3038 for more information.

The Madison Pro chapter was formed in 1993; a UW-Madison chapter has been in existence for much of the past century. 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 www.spj.org.


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