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SPJ selects José Luis Benavides for Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award


Christine Cordial, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4788, ccordial@spj.org
Isaac Taylor, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, itaylor@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has chosen José Luis Benavides, professor of journalism at California State University, Northridge, 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. Benavides won this year with detailed letters of support from faculty and students in the Department of Journalism at CSUN who lauded Benavides for how deeply he cares for his students and their work.

“[Benavides] founded the department’s student-run Spanish language multimedia site, El Nuevo Sol,” Department of Journalism Chair Linda Bowen wrote in a nomination letter. “Many of the students he has mentored are the first in their families to attend college and are working more than 40 or more hours a week … His ability to connect with and inspire them to believe in themselves has literally changed hundreds of our students’ lives.”

After noticing an industry trend of many internships being unpaid, Benavides worked with the Latino Journalists, a club he founded, to raise money for students who worked in unpaid internships. He and his organization were able to raise over $5,000 to help students gain internship experience who otherwise would not have had the opportunity.

Benavides graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in 1985. He then received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and graduated with his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies from UT Austin in 1997.

Outside the classroom, Benavides has helped inform and educate members of his journalism community, serving as a panelist for local SPJ chapter events and presenting data on diversity to the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Benavides will be honored at the Excellence in Journalism 2018 conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Sept. 27-29.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.


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