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Stan Chambers Honored With Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award

For Immediate Release:

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

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Stan Chambers with the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. Chambers is a reporter for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

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

Chambers has been with the same station for 59 years, since KTLA went on the air in 1947. In that time he has covered more than 20,000 stories, at home and abroad in Poland, Rome and Moscow. Chambers broke the Rodney King beating story, for which he won the Peabody Award for significant and meritorious achievement. He has also won local Emmys, Golden Mikes, Press Club awards and the 1979 SPJ “Broadcaster of the Year” award.

“Stan’s personal modesty and reverence for the news earned him the respect of government officials, civic leaders and other news makers who knew that Stan’s stories would be knowledgeable and fair. The same qualities earned credibility with LA’s vast audience,” wrote Warren Olney, host of NPR’s “To the Point” and KCRW’s “Which Way, LA?”, in his nomination letter. “Stan’s long career has provided a model of how TV reporting ought to be done and helped to sustain the notion that television news can, and ought to be, serious business.”

Chambers’ ability to put the stories before himself earned the accolades of his colleagues. He has covered some of the biggest news stories of the past half century: Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the Bel Air fire, the Kathy Fiscus well tragedy and the Manson family murders, to name a few. He has written a book about his time at KTLA, titled “News at Ten.”

“In my opinion, the book should be required reading in every journalism class in southern California,” wrote Jeff Wald, KTLA news director, in his nomination letter.

“In addition to his remarkable professional career, Stan has been a devoted volunteer, always eager to meet with students to share his insights and inspire the next generation of broadcast journalists,” wrote Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Chambers graduated from USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism in 1944.

Chambers is the sponsor of the Stan Chambers Journalism Awards, an essay contest for high school seniors in southern California. The five winners selected each year are awarded $1,000 toward their education expenses.

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of SPJ honored Chambers with a Lifetime Achievement Award in July 2005. This banquet was the first of its kind by the chapter. To mark the occasion, several tribute letters were written, which are excerpted below.

“His dedication, integrity and professionalism are legendary. Stan doesn’t just report the news; he cares.” – Nancy Reagan, former first lady

“When I first arrived in Los Angeles in 1966, Stan Chambers was already one of the star local reporters and I was immediately struck by his generous treatment of those of us who were newcomers. He’d help identify the newsmakers, he’d ask the right questions and he always left everyone feeling they were in the presence of a real gentleman.” – Tom Brokaw, NBC News

“Receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists deserves more than a handshake. You are receiving standing ovations from all of us. (59) years at KTLA is a remarkable phenomenon in today’s world, especially the television world. It speaks of your professionalism, dedication and loyalty.” – Dennis J. Fitzsimmons, chairman, president and CEO of Tribune Company.

Chambers 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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