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SPJ honors Bill Shory with Ethics in Journalism Award


For Immediate Release:

Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org
Andrew M. Scott, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215, ascott@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor WBIR-TV News Director Bill Shory of Knoxville, Tenn., with its annual Ethics in Journalism Award.

The Ethics in Journalism Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves for performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics. Click here for a list of previous honorees.

On Jan. 12, 2010, the University of Tennessee scheduled a media conference to announce the departure of football coach Lane Kiffin. When extraordinary restrictions on the event forbade taping all but a limited portion of Kiffin’s statement, Shory’s unrelenting resistance against the demands of a hostile public relations staff held firm in the pursuit of ethical reporting.

Shory refused to agree to the notion that a public official had the right to tell any journalist when they could and could not switch on their recording devices during a press conference called in a public building. Under the mounting deadline of a breaking news story, he not only faced university officials, but also a frustrated room of his own colleagues who considered Shory’s position an annoyance rather than an ethical stance.

Footage of the incident that night appeared on YouTube, immediately receiving praise from widely respected journalism circles, including The Poynter Institute and Radio Television Digital News Association.

“Shory risked access to one of the newsiest moments of the year in favor of standing up for the principle that the media are the eyes and ears of the public,” rival Knoxville News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy wrote in his nomination letter. “For this, I believe, he was a hero to journalism, and is deserving of the SPJ Ethics Award.”

Shory will be recognized Oct. 5 during an awards banquet at the 2010 SPJ Convention & 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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