Alcindor, Hinojosa, Page and Walters honored as SPJ Fellows of the Society
Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, 317-920-4786, email@example.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes Yamiche Alcindor, Maria Hinojosa, Clarence Page and Barbara Walters as Fellows of the Society, the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ, for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.
“Each year, SPJ awards fellows who uphold the highest standards of the journalism industry and the society. I’m so proud to celebrate these four amazing journalists this year,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “In an age when facts seem slippery things and distrust a high hurdle to overcome, these four journalists show why trust in the work — and working on trust — both matter and how the effort and end result can uplift communities. I’d like to thank Yamiche, Maria, Clarence and Barbara for their incredible work and immense passion. They are all pioneers, all role models and all worthy of celebration.”
The Fellows will be honored at SPJ’s annual conference Sept. 2-4 in New Orleans and online, with more details to come. The fall issue of Quill Magazine will also focus on this year’s Fellows.
SPJ launched the Fellows of the Society program in 1948 and has named three or more Fellows every year since.
Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; the moderator of Washington Week, the weekly public affairs show on PBS; and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. Her steady focus on her job and pursuit of facts in the face of a president who made things personal by calling her “threatening” and her questions “nasty” showed women everywhere and Black women especially how to thrive despite obstacles in her way.
She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. She is currently covering the administration of President Joe Biden and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, Alcindor worked as a national political reporter for The New York Times and a national breaking news reporter for USA Today. Alcindor has been honored by Radio Television Digital News Association, International Women’s Media Foundation, the White House Correspondents' Association and National Association of Black Journalists.
“We need a press that is diverse, truth seeking and empathetically connected to the lives of everyday Americans,” Alcindor said. “We need reporters who deeply understand the struggles of vulnerable populations just trying to survive and thrive in America. And, we need reporters who are willing to expose the many ways America doesn’t live up to its ideals to treat every man and woman equally. Newsrooms also must value diversity at all levels as a core part of journalism and view it not just as the morally right thing to do but, as the means to creating the most accurate storytelling possible."
Maria Hinojosa is a Latina pioneer in journalism. Her nearly 30-year career as an award-winning journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN, NPR and anchoring the Emmy Award-winning talk show from WGBH “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One.”
In 2010, Hinojosa created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, New York City, with the mission to create multimedia content from a people of color perspective. As anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning show “Latino USA,” distributed by PRX, and co-host of Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast “In The Thick,” Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. She is also a contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning” and a frequent guest on MSNBC. She is the author of two books and has won dozens of awards. Hinojosa’s September 2020 memoir, “Once I Was You,” about immigration, and being a trailblazer for the Latinx community in journalism, is essential reading.”
“Right now, journalism needs to be more courageous,” Hinojosa said. “We need to go to our roots of what we do. We need to be leaders and understand our historical responsibility in a democracy. We need to be self-critical in understanding how structural racism influences how we cover stories and we need to change that. Journalists need to be true leaders in a democracy.”
Clarence Page is a Pulitzer Prize winning, nationally syndicated columnist and member of the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board whose columns during the past year have been more essential than ever.
Page was a reporter, producer and community affairs director at WBBM-TV in Chicago from 1980 to 1984. Before that he was a reporter and assistant city editor for the Chicago Tribune. He began his journalism career as a freelance writer and photographer for the Middletown Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer at the age of 17. He graduated from Ohio University in 1969 and was inducted into its Journalism Hall of Fame in 2014, a year before the university named him Alumnus of the Year.
“The most important lesson I have learned is to prepare for the unexpected,” Page said. “I have lived to see the election of the nation’s first black president, the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series victory in 108 years and the storming of the Capitol by angry Americans claiming to be defending democracy. I expected none of these events to happen, but I got through them by remembering what a wise editor told me decades ago: That’s why we call it news’.”
Barbara Walters is an influential, innovative, trustworthy figure in journalism who has shown compassion and toughness alike in her interviews, and been an aspirational role model for women and all journalists. She has hosted numerous television programs, including “The Today Show,” “The View,” “20/20” and the ABC Evening News. She is known for her popularity with viewers and trademark probing-yet-casual interviewing style.
Walters began her career on “The Today Show” in 1961. In 1976, she joined ABC News as the first woman to co-host a network evening news program. Walters created, co-owned, was an executive producer and co-hosted the ABC daytime talk show “The View” in 1997, where she worked until she retired in 2014. Walters is a New York Times best-selling author and has received numerous prestigious honors and awards, including 11 Emmy Awards and seven honorary degrees.
Last year’s Fellows were Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, Jorge Ramos, anchor for “Noticiero Univision,” Les Zaitz, editor and publisher of the weekly Malheur Enterprise newspaper and, posthumously, Gwen Ifill, who was the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour” until her death in 2016. A list of all previous honorees is available here.
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