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William Paterson University professor, Nicholas Hirshon, named outstanding campus adviser


Matthew Kent, Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788, mkent@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has named Nicholas Hirshon as the recipient of this year’s David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award. Hirshon is a journalism professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey, where he also advises the SPJ student chapter.

The Outstanding Campus Chapter Adviser Award, initiated in 1978, is presented annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the campus chapter for which he or she serves as SPJ adviser. In 1993, the SPJ Board of Directors voted to change the award name to the David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award in order to honor Eshelman, a longtime member of the Society and SPJ Board parliamentarian, who was killed in 1993. Eshelman was a mass communications professor at Central Missouri State University.

Hirshon and 11 students founded the campus chapter, called the William Paterson Society of Professional Journalists (WPSPJ), in the fall of 2017. In her nomination letter, founding member and 2018-19 President Maria Zuniga said, with Hirshon’s guidance, WPSPJ “has undoubtedly strengthened the journalism culture on our campus.” Since its founding, the chapter has grown to have more than two dozen dues-paying members with more students attending events.

“Dr. Hirshon has been a tremendous asset to have as both our SPJ chapter adviser and as a professor,” Priscilla Ziskin, 2019-20 WPSPJ publicity chair, said. “His constructive feedback in the classroom and ability to make the seemingly complex understandable helped me to improve my writing substantially… He works incredibly hard to make sure his students are afforded the very best opportunities to succeed, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.”

Hirshon organizes educational and networking events for chapter members, including a monthly guest speaker series, field trips to news outlets in the New York metropolitan area and chaperoning students to SPJ’s regional conference. He also created and helps maintain WPSPJ’s three social media accounts.

“He’s helped this chapter grow into what it has become, and WPSPJ isn’t even close to its full potential,” Yulliet Ruiz, 2018-19 WPSPJ secretary, said. “With his help, us students got experiences we couldn’t get in a classroom or anywhere else. Shadowing theater critics, sports writers and taking tours of newsrooms are only some of the great things he’s done. Without him, WPSPJ wouldn’t be where it is today. He is not just an adviser, but an essential person to the club and its future.”

Hirshon will be honored at Excellence in Journalism 2019, Sept. 5-7, in San Antonio.

A list of previous honorees can be found here.

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