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SPJ and FIRE co-sponsor CCC Award for a free press


Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President, 513-702-4065, pattinewberryspj@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – A novel new category has been introduced to The CCC Awards, which recognize college journalism excellence in the coverage of COVID-19.

The Free Press Award recognizes students, advisers, professors – basically anyone – who has stood up for college press freedom during the coverage of this deadly pandemic. The award may also recognize those who have defended college media from opportunistic budget cuts, and those who state the case for the importance of a free press in these trying times.

The award is co-sponsored by SPJ and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending student and faculty expressive rights on campuses nationwide. Since 1999, FIRE has furthered the cause of “individual rights, honest inquiry, and the core values of liberty, legal equality, and dignity.”

FIRE joins the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Collegiate Press, College Broadcasters, Inc. and the Society of News Design in supporting these free weekly awards — marking the first time all five organizations have partnered on a single project.

“The governors of New York and California both agree that the news media are ‘essential personnel’ in this time of crisis,” says FIRE president and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “That is only more true of student media, who have the campus knowledge and relationships to tell the stories that may never otherwise reach our screens. FIRE is proud to join ACP, SPJ and others in celebrating and amplifying the voices of the college journalists who, like their professional counterparts, are called to action by adversity.”

FIRE’s participation adds a new and important aspect to The CCC Awards, says SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry. It also dovetails with SPJ’s own mission to “promote the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry.”

“SPJ is perhaps known for its Ethics Code and its broad-based journalism training,” Newberry says. “But it’s equally dedicated to advocating for a free press, with its Legal Defense Fund and FOI projects. Partnering with FIRE on a free press award just reinforces that advocacy.”

Enter The CCC Awards here.

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 SPJ Foundation.


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