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SPJ names three Fellows of the Society


For Immediate Release:

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

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to name Sydney Schanberg, Ernie Pyle and Bob Steele as Fellows of the Society.

Being named a Fellow of the Society is the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Honorees receive a jeweled key and a plaque. Click here for a list of previous honorees.

The Fellows will be recognized at the President’s Installation Banquet Oct. 5 during the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas.

Sydney Schanberg

Sydney Schanberg is a former New York Times reporter, editor and op-ed columnist, and served as a longtime columnist for Newsday and the Village Voice. In his career, Schanberg opposed the atrocities of war, the injustice of racism, the act of government secrecy, the greed of corporate excesses and the weaknesses of the national media in fighting them. In 1976, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his coverage in chronicling the collapse of Cambodia.

His column on New York City highlighted the plight of the homeless, the abuses of slum lords, the greed of real estate moguls and the failure of legislative regulation. Schanberg was also a leading advocate for the families of Vietnam War prisoners and missing persons.

Schanberg graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in government in 1955. He has received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. He was the first James H. Ottaway Sr. Endowed Professor at the State University of New York and is a recipient of the Bart Richards Award for outstanding media criticism from Penn State University.

Ernie Pyle

The nation’s most recognized historical war correspondent; Ernie Pyle captured the quiet heroism of American troops during World War II. His writings gave readers mesmerizing insight to the tragedy of war, but also showed how the comradeship it built would eventually prevail.

Just two years out of college, Pyle was writing about life in the nation’s capital. He honed his abilities to tell stories while writing about aviation. As a civilian, he worked three years as a managing editor at the Daily News in New York. A trip to London at the end of 1940 to report on Nazi bombing there brought Pyle to fame, showing his bosses at Scripps-Howard his unmatched powers of observation and description.

In 1944, Pyle was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Europe. He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Service Award (later called Sigma Delta Chi Awards) in 1943. According to the Indiana University School of Journalism, where he attended college, Pyle saw his role as one of helping the troops gain victory and not as a watchdog of democracy. Stationed in the Pacific near the war’s end, Pyle died in 1945 while caught in an ambush on the island of Le-Shima.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is currently the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and plays a key role in the Poynter Ethics Fellows program that he initiated in 2001. He is the Phyllis W. Nicholas Director of The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics and the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism Ethics at DePauw University in Indiana. He has also authored articles, case studies and handbooks for a number of professional organizations and academic journals. Steele co-authored “Doing Ethics in Journalism,” published by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Steele began his professional career in Bangor, Maine, in 1973 as a news reporter for WLBZ-TV. He spent a decade as a reporter, executive producer and news director in Maine, Wisconsin and Iowa. He taught ethics, reporting and media law for five years in the department of journalism at the University of Maine. He also served on the advisory board for DePauw's Eugene S. Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from DePauw University, Steele earned his master’s in television-radio from Syracuse University and a doctorate from the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation on journalism ethics. Steele received an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree from DePauw, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Emerson College in Boston. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-72, including 10 months as a Signal Corps officer in Vietnam.

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


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