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Ten SPJ chapters recognized for exceptional programming


For Immediate Release

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. The Society of Professional Journalists has distinguished 10 of its professional chapters as the Circle of Excellence, a collection of awards that recognizes outstanding work in five areas: First Amendment/freedom of information, professional development, chapter communications, diversity and campus relations/scholarship.

Awards are given to two chapters in each category: one large chapter, of 75 or more members, and one small chapter, of fewer than 75 members. Here is a list of the honorees:

First Amendment/FOI
The South Florida Pro chapter developed an extensive Florida open meetings app for journalists to use on the go and assisted with expenses and logistics for First Amendment Free Food Festivals held around the country.
Small: The Virginia Pro chapter took to the halls of the Virginia legislature, distributed guest opinion columns to newspapers in support of a campus newspaper repressed by college officials and held programming to help educate members on freedom of information issues.

Professional development
Large: The Deadline Club in New York held 15 programs covering diversity, ethics and digital tools and worked with other journalism organizations to spread the core missions of SPJ.
Small: The Greater Tri-Cities Pro chapter created a diverse set of programs as it fought hard to gain and keep members, taking advantage of programming resources available from SPJ HQ and other generous chapter leaders to reengage membership.

Chapter communications
Large: The Western Washington Pro chapter created a social media calendar, delegated tasks to a five-member communication committee and hired an intern to create fresh and original content for the website.
Small: For the St. Louis Pro chapter, our small chapter honoree for the second year in a row, continues to communicate regularly with members via email newsletters, which are also posted to their website and distributed to other local journalists.

Large: The South Florida Pro chapter added diversity categories to its yearly contest, and hosted a diversity mixer and luncheon for Diversity Fellows at EIJ12. To cap it off, the chapter hosted a successful conference with NAHJ in Florida.
Small: The Northwest Arkansas Pro chapter has members who serve as coaches and mentors for students participating in the Lemke Journalism Project, a writing program for high school students, many who are Hispanic.

Campus relations/scholarship
Large: The South Florida Pro chapter supported two new college chapters through funding and logistical support and added students as nonvoting members of their board.
Small: The Virginia Pro chapter awarded two cash scholarships for the 51st year and gave grants to members of campus chapters in Virginia to cover the cost of registration to EIJ.

The chapters were recognized today in Anaheim, Calif., at Excellence in Journalism 2013, an annual conference co-hosted by SPJ, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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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