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SPJ honors Alan Walden with lifetime achievement award


Las Vegas, Nevada – The Society of Professional Journalists honored Alan Walden, previously of WBAL in Maryland, with the Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Walden retired in 1998 from broadcasting after 50 years in the industry. He continues to actively contribute to WBAL and to produce commentaries, including his “Walden Ponderings.” Walden appears regularly during major news events and is a permanent guest speaker Friday mornings on the Chip Franklin show.

“Alan has a deep love for the story, and getting the story correct,” said WBAL News Director Mark Miller. “Regardless of whether it is a fact, or merely a pronunciation, Alan is a stickler for precision and accuracy. He stresses that in all he does.”

Walden was recognized Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the President’s Installation Banquet during the 2005 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. The event was held at the Aladdin Resort and Casino.

During his five decades in the business, Walden worked as a reporter, anchor, news director, vice president of news for Metromedia Radio, executive producer and chief correspondent of NBC News and Information Service, director of Network News and senior correspondent for NBC Radio.

Walden reported on the Middle East War in 1967 with WNEW Radio in New York. He also covered major stories like the Arab-Israeli crisis, conflicts in El Salvador and Nicaragua, a Mexico City earthquake, the Falkland Islands War, the invasion of Grenada, and the Panama crisis.

Walden also is a historian and a believer in community.

“Whenever he is called upon to be active in community affairs, he jumps in with both feet,” said Miller. “He is particularly supportive of organizations and events that deal with history, the military, and the education of young people.”

Walden was known in the early 70s as the man who did “radio news in color” on WHDH in Boston. He has received numerous major awards for broadcast excellence, including the Patrick Henry Award of the National Guard Association of the United States, the Meritorious Service Medal of the Maryland National Guard, the Public Service Award of the Nation Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Good Citizenship Medal of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement is presented to an individual or individuals for a lifetime of contribution and service to the journalism profession. Nominations are open. The award is named after longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, a living icon of journalism, in recognition of her dogged pursuit of the truth in a career that has spanned almost 60 years. Thomas received the first award in 2000.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and education the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

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