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McKerral Awarded Journalism Groupís Highest Honor

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Heather Porter, Assistant Director of Programs, 317-927-8000 ext. 204 or hporter@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS ó The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded Gordon ďMacĒ McKerral with the Wells Memorial Key, the Societyís highest honor.

McKerral accepted the award at the Presidentís Installation Banquet on October 18, during the 2005 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. The Wells Key recognizes meritorious service to the Society and the journalism profession.

McKerral began his career as a fourth-grade history teacher but soon gave up teaching to pursue a graduate degree in journalism. He spent 10 years in the journalism department at Troy State University where he drilled his students on ethics and helped them become storytellers. Not only was he the 2003-2004 SPJ National President, he has also served as a Campus Adviser-at-Large, Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs and Chapter Doctor on the Societyís national board of directors.

ďMac has been a giant presence in the Society,Ē said outgoing President Irwin Gratz. ďLike many great journalists he was a productive skeptic and made sure our board and officers asked all the right questions.Ē

ďIf Mac were asked his regrets, heíd probably say he regrets never marrying and having kids, or that he wishes he hadnít spend so much time at the horse track, or that he should have paid more attention to his finances. I donít think heíd ever say he regrets being a journalist.Ē said Robyn Eoff, one of the people who nominated McKerral for the award.

The Wells Memorial Key was first presented in 1913. The award was named in honor of Chester Wells, Sigma Delta Chiís second national president. Wells died in office in 1913 at the age of 26. Wellsí brief time in office was marked by an inspiring dedication to the work and ideals of Sigma Delta Chi, and after his death, members decided to award a jeweled key each year in his memory to a member who had performed meritorious service to the Society.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nationís 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 educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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