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SPJ recognizes University of Florida Master Lecturer for Distinguished Teaching in Journalism



Chad Hosier, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4791, chosier@spj.org
Ellen Kobe, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, ekobe@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has chosen Mike Foley, master lecturer at the University of Florida, as the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. Foley teaches Reporting, known as one of the most challenging classes at UF.

Each year, SPJ honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession and/or journalism education.

“Foley’s love for journalism is rivaled only by his enthusiasm for teaching,” said Meg Wagner, a student at University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, president of the UF Society of Professional Journalists and a student representative on the national SPJ board of directors. “He is dedicated to his classes’ success inside and outside of the classroom. He has an open door policy, and when you enter his office, you are a person, not just a number at a huge university.”

Foley, a graduate from the UF Journalism and Communications School himself, started his career at the Evening Independent, an afternoon newspaper owned by the St. Petersburg Times. Foley later moved on to the St. Petersburg Times, where he held leadership positions as city editor, managing editor, executive editor and vice president for community relations for 30 years.

After he retired in 1999, Foley began teaching in UF’s journalism department. Two years later, he received an award in honor of one of his former professors — the Hugh Cunningham Professor in Journalism Excellence. He is also one of four journalism teachers listed in The Princeton Review’s “The Best 300 Professors,” published in 2012.

SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee was impressed by the amount and variety of endorsements Foley received from colleagues and students speaking to his teaching skills and ability to empower young journalists.

“Over and over, young people have told me of the things Foley left with them, as if he was some
holy man wandering the wilderness, sharing the meaning of life,” wrote Rick Bragg, professor of writing in the journalism department at the University of Alabama. “He has armed them with real skills, and, maybe even more importantly, he has left them with a desire to do work of the highest and finest type.”

Foley will be honored at the Excellence in Journalism 2013 conference in Southern California Aug. 24 to 26.

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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