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SPJ honors Julian Hayda with Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award



Abbi Martzall, SPJ Awards Coordinator, 317-920-4791,
Maggie LaMar, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to award DePaul University student Julian Hayda with the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award. The award honors a student SPJ member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through their work in journalism.

Hayda is a Ukrainian-American journalist and documentary filmmaker from Chicago. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Digital Cinema from DePaul University in June 2015 and is planning to earn his Master of Arts degree in International Studies, also from DePaul. He is most interested in covering Ukraine, Eurasian politics, religion and human rights. He will receive complimentary convention registration and travel expenses for Excellence in Journalism 2015.

Hayda flew to Ukraine to cover the Euromaiden revolution. Using the Western principles of freedom of speech, Hayda helped give voices to the voiceless in Ukraine. Many protesters at the time were being arrested, despite their peaceful practices. He, along with other Ukrainian-Americans, formed the Euromaiden Journalist Collective to help report on the events unfolding in Ukraine and also fight for First Amendment rights there.

“We did not only tell Ukraine how to behave democratically – we spent weeks alongside them, demonstrating our understanding of human rights as outlined in the First Amendment. In turn, we witnessed a fight for those rights, and had the rare opportunity to share that in our work with the rest of the world,” said Hayda about his time in Ukraine.

Hayda will be recognized at the Student Union held during EIJ15 Sept. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla.

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


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