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SPJ honors Andrew Seaman with Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award


For Immediate Release:

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org
Karen Grabowski, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 215, kgrabowski@spj.org

SPJ honors Andrew Seaman with Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to award Wilkes University student Andrew Seaman with the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, which honors a student SPJ member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through the field of journalism.

An avid defender of the First Amendment, Seaman is dedicated to educating the public, his peers and colleagues about their rights. In his junior year of college, he reached out to young students by organizing a First Amendment Essay contest for high schools in the Wilkes-Barre, Pa. area. The contest reached thousands of students in grades 9 through 12, spreading awareness of the First Amendment during Wilkes University’s First Amendment Week, an event Seaman had also worked for the past two years.

His efforts extend to higher education as well. In March 2009, Seaman presented two workshops with Professor Andrea Breemer Frantz at the College Media Advisers Convention that focused on the First Amendment and its role in college. Currently, Seaman is working on a project with the Student Press Law Center to coordinate a First Amendment Agreement between newspapers at higher education institutions and the institutions’ administrations. The agreement would allow students to practice journalism without being concerned about school censorship.

Supporting Seaman’s nomination, Wilkes University’s Communication Studies Chair Mark D. Stine wrote: “… it is Andrew’s drive and passion for journalism and the First Amendment that most impresses me … Andrew has distinguished himself as a key student leader – in fact, in many ways he is the student leader in our program of more than one hundred students.”

When Seaman is not educating the masses, he is a practicing journalist. He is the former editor-in-chief of Wilkes University’s student newspaper, The Beacon; a correspondent for USA Today; president of Wilkes University’s student SPJ chapter; an advisor for the Student Editors’ Interest Group for the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors; and a mentor for Wilkes University’s Students in Media Program. Seaman plans to study law and journalism after graduating from Wilkes University so that he may continue to pursue his invested interest in the First Amendment.

Seaman will be recognized Aug. 28 at the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon held during the 2009 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Indianapolis.

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. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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