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SPJ selects Robert Buckman for Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award


Abbi Martzall, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4791,
Anna Gutierrez, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785,

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has chosen Robert Buckman, associate professor of communication and journalism sequence coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.

Each year, SPJ honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession and/or journalism education. Buckman won this year with detailed letters of support from faculty and students in the Department of Communication of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“His uncompromising insistence on accurate fact gathering, spell-checking (the old-fashioned way), and plain good storytelling is renowned,” said William R. Davie, Board of Regents Support Fund Regents Chair of Communication at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “He applies a sort of tough love that demands perfection from his students and colleagues.”

Buckman graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970. He then went on to receive his master’s degree in government from TCU in 1972 with honors. Buckman graduated with his Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He began teaching a variety of journalism subjects in 1986 while continuing to freelance with news organizations like The Dallas Morning News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Tampa Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and many more.

Outside the classroom, Buckman is active in the Society of Professional Journalists among other professional organizations. He organized the new SPJ student chapter at the University of Lousiana at Lafayette in 1989 and has served as the faculty adviser since. Buckman also co-founded the SPJ Louisiana Pro Chapter in 2015 and is a member of the board of directors. Nationally, Buckman has served as a member of the SPJ Ethics Committee and played an active role in rewriting the SPJ Code of Ethics in 1996.

Buckman retired in May 1998 as a lieutenant colonel after 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was recalled to active duty in June 2008, and served a 12-month tour in Baghdad.

Buckman will be honored at the Excellence in Journalism 2017 conference in Anaheim, California, Sept. 7-9.

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