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SPJ honors two with Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Professional Member Award

For Immediate Release

Lauren Rochester, Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org
Scott Leadingham, SPJ Communications Department, (317) 927-8000, ext. 211, sleadingham@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Jean Ash and Richard D. Hendrickson with Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Professional Member Awards.

Ash has been a member of the East Tennessee Pro chapter of the Society (ETSPJ) since the 1970s and has served in every elected position on the board there. For the past several years, Ash has been the chapter’s communications director, which “would cost us hundreds and hundreds of dollars if we were paying true professional dollars,” according to the chapter’s secretary Elenora Edwards in her recommendation letter.

In addition to this role, Ash serves as chairwoman of the chapter’s annual Front Page Follies fundraiser. This is a yearlong project that requires the chairperson select an honoree, write the script for a roast of local newsmakers, publicize the event, sell tickets, reserve a space to hold the event and many other things. This fundraiser is critical to the work of the ETSPJ because it provides funds for three scholarships to college journalism students and operating money for the chapter to send delegates to regional and national meetings.

Ash also led the efforts to establish the chapter’s Web site. She attended courses on HTML to equip herself to keep the page up-to-date and researched the best hosting sites for the chapter’s limited budget.

Because of her above-and-beyond commitment to the chapter, Ash’s fellow ETSPJ member Adina Chumley said Ash is most deserving of the Howard S. Dubin Award.

“Our programs are well-publicized and well-attended thanks to Jean,” Chumley wrote in her nomination letter. “She ensures our newsletters and postcard reminders are printed and delivered on time. Jean also attends ETSPJ programs to help with the all-important details from set up to wrap up. She exemplifies the high standards and fellowship of members such as Howard Dubin.”

“I’m delighted to hear of this wonderful honor, especially since I’ve known Howard for many years and know just how much he has contributed to SPJ,” Ash said after hearing she was one of this year’s outstanding professional members. “I am indebted to those in the East Tennessee Pro Chapter who nominated me since they too deserve great thanks for all they do.”

Hendrickson, Ash’s fellow Howard S. Dubin Award winner, is a past president of the Cleveland Pro Chapter of SPJ. Hendrickson edited the Cleveland Pro’s Writer’s Week, which was distributed 48 times a year to the chapter’s members and prospective members in Ohio.

At the regional level, Hendrickson has worked with Region 4 Director Jeremy Steele to address challenges the Ohio chapters have faced in recent years with their state SPJ awards. He also helped establish a tri-chapter Oversight Committee for the Society’s Ohio chapters that directly led to the chapters reaching a level of entries and financial success in 2008 that it hadn’t had for several years.

Hendrickson has also served as one of SPJ’s Sunshine Law experts, helping SPJ leaders with Freedom of Information issues, problems and solutions at the local and state level.

Outside of SPJ, Hendrickson works in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

After learning of his award win, Hendrickson simply wanted to give thanks to those he felt helped make him an outstanding professional member.

“I owe thanks for the encouragement of my mentor, the retired journalism professor Emil Dansker of Cincinnati, and my friend and Cleveland chapter past president, Jerry Masek, who both received similar honors for service to SPJ,” Hendrickson said. “I am indebted to Steve Fitzgerald, immediate past president of Cleveland SPJ, who has supported and challenged me. I am grateful to Bob Noll, my colleague and friend at John Carroll University, who has helped with the campus chapter there, and to Mike Lorz and Brian Ball, officers of the Central Ohio SPJ chapter, who were instrumental in getting the Ohio SPJ Awards back on track.”

The Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Professional Member Award is given annually to individual SPJ members who have made significant contributions to their SPJ chapters and regions. Annually, one award may be given to a member from a chapter with 75 or more members, and another award may be given to a member from a chapter with fewer than 75 members. The award is named for Howard S. Dubin, a longtime member of SPJ, who remains active with the organization, its local chapters and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. The Foundation supports the charitable and educational work of SPJ and other journalism organizations.

Ash and Hendrickson will be recognized Saturday, Sept. 6 at a dinner to be hosted at the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Atlanta. To learn more about the event, visit www.spj.org/convention.asp.

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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