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SPJ honors Michele Boyet with Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award


For immediate release

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to award Florida Atlantic University student Michele Boyet with the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award. The award honors a student SPJ member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through the field of journalism.

Boyet is recognized for her commitment to educating fellow students and journalists about the importance of First Amendment rights. In 2006, she helped spearhead the First Amendment Free Food Festival, a demonstration activity on the FAU campus that has students symbolically sign away their constitutional rights in exchange for a free lunch. The program has been an overwhelming success, being duplicated on nearly 20 college campuses. Because of this success, SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation began offering grants to campus SPJ chapters to hold the festivals on their campuses. Boyet was named to the committee to help select grant recipients.

Click here for a list of grant recipients and information on the program.

“Michele may still be a college student, but she's been teaching the First Amendment for the past five years,” said SPJ national board member Michael Koretzky, who helped plan the inaugural food festival in 2006. “Whether it's driving all over Florida to help host First Amendment Free Food Festivals or flying all over the country to emcee First Amendment game shows – her creation – Michele is the fresh young face of alternative constitutional education. And she's just a blast to be around.”

Aside from this award, Boyet has been recognized on several occasions for her continued First Amendment advocacy. The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge recognized her in 2007 for her First Amendment work, and she has presented panel discussions and workshops for College Media Advisers and the Associated Collegiate Press. For her work, the South Florida chapter of SPJ recently named her the College Journalist of the Year in the annual Sunshine State Awards.

Boyet will be recognized Oct. 4 at the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon held during the 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas.

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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