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SPJ chapters recognized with 2023 Circle of Excellence Awards


Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, lharry@hq.spj.org
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Coordinator, ktsuyuki@hq.spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists has recognized a select group of chapters in its annual Circle of Excellence Awards.

These awards honor contributions to the Society’s missions, including First Amendment and freedom of information activity, campus relations and scholarship activities, chapter communications and activities promoting diversity among journalists, professional development and continuing education programs.

Chapters with 75 or more members are eligible for Large Circle of Excellence Awards, while chapters with fewer than 75 members are eligible for Small Circle of Excellence Awards.

SPJ is delighted to announce the following winners:

Large Chapter Circle of Excellence Awards
Professional Development: Florida Pro Chapter
Diversity: Florida Pro Chapter
First Amendment and FOI: Chicago Headline Club
Campus Relations: Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter

Small Chapter Circle of Excellence Awards
Professional Development: Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter
Diversity: Arkansas Pro Chapter
First Amendment and FOI: St. Louis Pro Chapter and Utah Headliners Chapter
Campus Relations: San Diego Pro Chapter

The Florida Pro Chapter was recognized for work including:
— “Crucial Context: Unpacking media coverage of LGBTQ public health issues” in partnership with NLGJA South Florida: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
— The ReNews Project, which revives dormant student newspapers at historically Black colleges or universities and Hispanic serving institutions.

The Chicago Headliners Club won for its FOI work including:
— The FOIA Fest, which featured more than a dozen sessions, including in-depth conversations on using Freedom of Information Act for groundbreaking journalism, hands-on workshops with experts and live Q&As with funders and public records officials.
— The Watchdog Award, which honors and encourages enterprising journalism that defends and protects everyday people.

The Greater Lost Angeles Pro Chapter won for the work its members did in fostering journalism programming at the high school and college levels. This included:
— “Protecting the Rights of Student Journalists,” which discussed the issues student journalists are facing in schools in terms of free press.
— Hosting a day-long Region 11 conference at Loyola Marymount University.
— The Generation J Committee hosting virtual mentoring programs for students.

The Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter was recognized for work including:
— The Valley of the Sun Pro Publicity Summit, which gathers journalists and public relations professionals in a pitching and networking event.
— Hosting two “Get Freelancing!” programs that help freelancers develop their pitching skills.
— The State of Arizona Media 2023 presentation.

The Arkansas Pro Chapter utilized social media to highlight diversity in Arkansas journalism by showcasing Black and Latino journalists during Black History and Hispanic Heritage months.

The St. Louis Pro Chapter co-sponsored the 10th Annual First Amendment Free Food Festival, where people signed away their First Amendment rights in return for a free meal.

The Utah Headliners Chapter hosted the Utah Headliners Virtual Law School for Journalists event which trained journalists on how to access, read and interpret court documents.

The San Diego Pro Chapter was recognized for its work including:
— A mentorship program that pairs college students with industry professionals.
— Sponsoring the San Diego Union-Tribune’s inaugural Festival of Journalism.
— Participated in The Writer’s Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University.
— Hosted an “Ask Me Anything” event at San Diego State University where veteran journalists shared career advice with students.

The chapters will be recognized during the Open Business Meeting at the SPJ23 Journalism Convention in Las Vegas, on Sept. 28.

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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