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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Creates Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award


Paul McMasters
, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation president, 703/284-3511 or pmcmasters@freedomforum.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is soliciting nominees for its first Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award, with submissions due by April 1.

The $10,000 cash award honors a person or persons who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The award will be presented in mid-September at the 2002 Society of Professional Journalists National Convention in Forth Worth, Texas.

“With this award, we hope to enhance, as well as honor, Mr. Pulliam’s wonderful First Amendment legacy,” said Paul McMasters, SDX Foundation president and First Amendment Ombudsman at The Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Pulliam, publisher of The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News until his death in January 1999, was well-known for consistently supporting activities which educated the public about First Amendment rights and values.

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation established this annual award to honor those committed to the same goals and as a tribute to the professional contributions that Eugene S. Pulliam made to journalism, McMasters said..

“People are rarely rewarded for the work done in the area of First Amendment – yet we all benefit from their advocacy,” said Kyle Elyse Niederpruem, a past SPJ national president who asked the Foundation to create the award. “Cash awards for advocates are rare in this country, especially in the area of the First Amendment. As the nation’s largest journalism organization, we felt it was important to put money from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation toward people and groups who richly deserve it for keeping this country on the A-list for free speech.”

Nominees can include journalists or public officials, First Amendment lawyers, scholars, students, or citizens who have accomplished extraordinary feats.

“We encourage nomination of any individual or organization working on behalf of First Amendment rights because journalists are not the only ones at the forefront of this issue,” said Georgiana Vines, SDX Foundation Awards Committee chairwoman.

Each nomination should include a completed entry form and the following:
-- Three signed letters of nomination or one letter endorsed by three individuals or organizations;
-- Nomination letter should detail: the specific efforts taken on behalf of the protection of the First Amendment, obstacles and difficulties encountered, and impact made as a result of those efforts and how they have contributed to the protection of First Amendment rights for everyone;
-- Supporting materials may consist of published or broadcast materials, documentation of service or lifetime achievement or any appropriate materials.

All nominations should be mailed to the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208-4045.

The Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award is a project of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. For more information on the program, contact the Society of Professional Journalists awards coordinator at 317/927-8000, ext. 215; fax: 317/920-4789 or e-mail bdeckard@spj.org.

More about Mr. Pulliam’s distinguished career can be found in The Indianapolis Star's online library by going to http://www.indystar.com/library/factfiles/ and clicking on the "biographies" tab.

All entries become the property of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. They may be republished for general distribution or used to publicize the award.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.


Bobby Deckard
SPJ Awards Coordinator
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208-4045
317/927-8000 ext. 215

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