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SPJ Honors Gene Murray With Distinguished Teaching Award

For Immediate Release:

Heather Porter, Programs Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 204, hporter@spj.orgBeth King, Communications Manager, (317) 927-8000, ext. 211, bking@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Gene Murray of Grambling State University, La., with the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.

The award honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education. Students, former students, alumni, colleagues and professionals may submit nominations. Nominees do not have to be members of SPJ.

Murray is a professor of mass communication and coordinator of the news-editorial concentration at Grambling. He was instrumental in creating the master’s degree program. He is a founder and co-adviser of the Lincoln Collegiate Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has written two books: “Editing the News” and “Covering Sex, Race and Gender in the American Military Services.”

“As a professor, (Gene) is always going the extra mile to assist his students, and he is well liked by students, faculty and staff because of his caring and professional attitude,” wrote Murray’s colleague Sharon Ford-Dunn in her nomination letter. “His work with the students does not end in the classroom as he provides academic and career advice, assists with the campus newspaper staff and advises the local SPJ chapter, which he helped organize.”

Murray’s guidance has had a lasting influence on some of his former students. “To this day, I consider Dr. Murray as one of the leading factors in my success as a professional,” wrote Patricia Sumler, class of 1996 and executive director of the Arkansas Medical Dental & Pharmaceutical Association. “His nurturing and caring teaching style gave me the confidence and ability to build on my education and translate my learning into real work experience.”

Murray has twice been elected as the Department of Mass Communications’ Teacher of the Year, and was selected for the American Society of Newspaper Editors Institute for Journalism Excellence. He continues to write and is currently a correspondent for The Daily Leader in Ruston, La. His previous newspaper experience includes writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and being a copy editor for the Dallas Morning News and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“Observers can tell that he loves to discuss writing, reporting and editing,” wrote Faith Karimi, class of 2003 and copy editor at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. “He is a great teacher, mentor, friend and role model. Thanks to exceptional professors and human beings like Dr. Murray, students can learn more about mass media and life in general from a professional who is not afraid to share, care and drive students to be the best they can.”

Murray who also is a 2006 SPJ Diversity Fellow, will be recognized Saturday, Aug. 26 during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2006 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr.

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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