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Drew, Kalb, O'Brien, Priest, Visser honored as SPJ Fellows of the Society

Register now for SPJ23 and meet the Fellows

Claire Regan, SPJ National President, cregan@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes Richard Drew, Marvin Kalb, Soledad O’Brien, Dana Priest and Lesley Visser as this year’s Fellows of the Society. This is the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.

“SPJ is proud to welcome these five luminaries as Fellows of the Society,” said SPJ National President Claire Regan. “We are inspired by their passion and professionalism, and look forward to celebrating their outstanding work and many accomplishments at SPJ23.”

Fellows will be honored at the SPJ23 annual convention, Sept. 28-30 in Las Vegas, and will participate in a keynote discussion on Sept. 30. Registration is now open. 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.

Richard Drew is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who has spent the past 53 years on the staff of The Associated Press, covering breaking news, sports and features in 11 countries. He is best known for his photographs of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination in 1968, and for "The Falling Man," an iconic image taken during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that appears on many critics’ lists as one of the five most important photographs of all time.

Drew's work is included in the permanent collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art and the 9/11 Museum, and has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and at London’s Tate Gallery, as part of Sir Elton John’s private collection.

Marvin Kalb has a three-decade long career of award-winning reporting and commentary for CBS and NBC. He was the founding Director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy from 1987 to 1999. He is the Edward R. Murrow Professor (Emeritus) at Harvard. For 27 years, Kalb hosted “The Kalb Report,” a program about media ethics and responsibility at the National Press Club. He is currently senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and senior fellow in foreign affairs at the Brookings Institution.

Kalb has served as a chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC, Moscow bureau chief and host of NBC’s "Meet the Press” from 1981-1987. He has authored or co-authored 16 non-fiction books and two best-selling novels. His most recent book is, “Assignment Russia: Becoming a Foreign Correspondent in the Crucible of the Cold War.”

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian and broadcast journalist. She anchors and produces the Hearst TV political magazine program "Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien" and is a correspondent for HBO “Real Sports.” O’Brien has created numerous documentary films and is the author of two books, her critically acclaimed memoir “The Next Big Story” and “Latino in America.” Her recent productions include “The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks” and “Black and Missing.”

O'Brien has previously anchored CNN programs “American Morning” and “Starting Point.” Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including four Emmy awards, two George Foster Peabody Award, three Gracie Awards, two Cine Awards for her work in documentary films and an Alfred I. DuPont Award.

Dana Priest is a reporter for The Washington Post and the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She covers and teaches intelligence and national security reporting. Priest has won two Pulitzer Prizes for her work uncovering secret CIA interrogation sites and the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital.

Priest is the author of “Top Secret America,” which details the national security buildup in the United States following the Sept. 11 attacks, and “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military.” She and students at the University of Maryland also founded Press Uncuffed, a campaign to help free imprisoned journalists.

Lesley Visser is a trailblazing sports journalist on her 30th year at CBS. While at the Boston Globe from 1975-1988, she became the first woman to cover the NFL as a beat. She is the only sportscaster – male or female – to have worked on the network broadcast of The Final Four, The Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, The Triple Crown, The Olympics, the U.S. Open and the World Figure Skating Championship. She was voted the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of All-Time by the National Sportscasters of America and was elected to the Sportswriters Hall of Fame.

Visser is often recognized as the “first” – the first woman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame; the first woman to report from a Super Bowl sideline; the first and only woman to present the Championship Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl; the first female sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch; the first woman on “Monday Night Football;” and the first female analyst in both radio and TV.

Last year’s Fellows were Jerry Green, an American sports journalist and author; Roland Martin, founder of the digital Black Star Network and host and managing editor of #RolandMartinUnfiltered; John Quiñones, ABC News correspondent who reports for “20/20,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America;” Clarissa Ward, CNN chief international correspondent; and Bill Whitaker, correspondent for CBS “60 Minutes.”

A list of all previous honorees is available 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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