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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Announcing an award winner and volunteer of the month

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SPJ Leads | 7/11/2012
Announcing an award winner and volunteer of the month

By Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Department



Robert D.G. Lewis, president of the Society of Professional Journalists from 1985-86, died Tuesday morning. Lewis joined SPJ in 1964 and was the chairman of SPJ's national Freedom of Information Committee and the Wells Key recipient in 1980. Lewis, who once served as president of the local DC Pro chapter, had been struggling with pulmonary fibrosis for many years and died at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia.

Several years ago, the Lewis family endowed a local and national SPJ award given each year in his honor: the Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter's Robert D.G. Lewis Watchdog Award and the national Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award.


On July 5, SPJ named Sandy Coronilla of San Diego State the recipient of 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.

Coronilla worked to protect the First Amendment while at Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit investigative news organization. Through months of research, Coronilla found many of the city's 16 business districts in violation of the state's public-records and open-meetings laws, and soon after her story's publication, the city worked to improve transparency in the districts.

Coronilla's achievement will be recognized during the joint SPJ/RTDNA Excellence in Journalism 2012 conference, Sept. 20 to 22, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Read SPJ's full news release here.


Food and SPJ talk -- what else could you ask for? If you're an SPJ adviser, you should join us for a breakfast at the 2012 AEJMC Conference in Chicago on Aug.11.

The breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and is first-come, first-served. If you will be in Chicago, mark the breakfast on your calendar and RSVP as soon as you can -- space is limited.

If you have any questions, please contact Tara Puckey at or (317) 927-8000 ext. 215.


SPJ will award grants of up to $500 for chapter programming or events from August until May 2013. We love our chapters and want to help them improve their activities when they have great ideas on how to do so. Write a proposal and share your creativity. The grants will be awarded in 10 cycles, the deadlines for which can be viewed here, in addition to the notification dates.

Get the full details online, see how chapters have used grants in the past and direct all questions to Tara Puckey via email or at (317) 927-8000 ext. 215.


SPJ President John Ensslin will continue his virtual journey across the nation this weekend by hosting town hall meetings with Regions 11 and 12. On Saturday, July 14, John will call in to Region 12 at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and Region 11 at 3 p.m. EDT.

You can participate in the meeting with your telephone, or you can watch, listen and ask questions online via your GoToMeeting. For an email link to the platform, please email John. The platform can accommodate 25 people. Find out when your region has a meeting and see the region in which you reside here.


Dominick Miserandino, president of SPJ's Press Club of Long Island, is our volunteer of the month for July.

Miserandino came recommended by Region 10 Director Dana Neuts and President-Elect Sonny Albarado after they met him at the Scripps Leadership Institute in June.

SPJ President John Ensslin said he was impressed by the way Miserandino helped successfully organize this year's Region 1 spring conference, which paid for itself through sponsorships.

"Dominick's knack for creative organizational skills was evident throughout the conference, which featured perks ranging from free chocolate to discounted bus trips so that members throughout the region could afford to attend," Ensslin said.

Here are a few of his other accomplishments this year:

— Miserandino organized and hosted a holiday party at his home as a way to get to know his board, brainstorm and plan for the year ahead

— He also got Jerry Springer to do a program and donate $1,000 because he wanted to support journalism

— Under Miserandino's leadership, the chapter increased attendance at its holiday party and garnered more entries to its journalism contest by going online.

The volunteer of the month award is a way to call attention to SPJ's unsung heroes, the people who give their time and effort to improve our local chapters.

Do you know of someone who fits this description? Send your nomination to Ensslin at


SPJ headquarters expresses its condolences to the New York Deadline Club and the family and friends of JoAnne Murphy, who died Monday. Murphy was on the executive council of the Deadline Club and was a member of SPJ since 1987.


If your training budget has been squeezed, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism can help with free training in business journalism. Check its six-month schedule of training, taught by award-winning journalists and professors.

The center will offer training in how to track companies' influence on politics at the SPJ/RTDNA Excellence in Journalism Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and in how to be an entrepreneur and cover the economy better at the UNITY Convention in Las Vegas.

Other opportunities include a free workshop in New York on digging into financial statements, one in Montana on computer-assisted reporting and a business journalism boot camp in Portland, Ore.

In addition, it has a free, live webinar on telling great stories with Diana B. Henriques, longtime New York Times writer and best-selling author. Other free webinars will help you delve into SEC filings and find economic stories in Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census data.

Visit the website for details.


This week, the Chicago Sun-Times and GateHouse Media ended their relationships with what outsourcing company?

Answer: Journatic

And the winner is ... Ashley Archibald! Ashley is a member of the Los Angeles Pro chapter and works for the Santa Monica Daily Press. Congrats, Ashley. Your prize is on the way.


Which Alabama newspaper announced this week it would eliminate its Monday edition?

Submit your answer to Christine DiGangi.

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