SAN ANTONIO – The Society of Professional Journalists selected Ohio University as the Outstanding Campus Chapter at its annual Excellence in Journalism Conference on Friday. This award honors chapters for their commitment to SPJ’s mission and to the journalism profession. It is the fourth year in a row the OHIO chapter has won the award.
Dr. Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, said: “Our students — year in and year out — demonstrate a commitment to SPJ that makes the school a great place to develop as a young journalist.”
The Ohio University SPJ chapter excelled in both quality and number of programs. It continued popular programs of the past, such as a Grammar Smackdown, and introduced valuable new ones.
Programs for the year included a self-care workshop to help students cope with stress (including a therapy dog); a reverse press conference in which journalists and PR practitioners traded roles and a program featuring two Native American journalists who work for Indian Country Today.
There were in-depth looks at ethics (how the Indianapolis Star covered the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal) and freedom of information (a workshop on filing public records requests).
Training on other skills was complemented by fun (pumpkin carving) and philanthropy (raising money for Ronald McDonald House).
Maggie Campbell was president of the chapter during the 2018-19 academic year, for which the award was given. The Fairfax, Virginia, senior said: “It’s been amazing to watch the creativity and passion of our executive board and members. I’m proud that we are able to bring this honor back to them and the journalism school.”
Iowa State University received the award four years in a row from 1981 to 1984. Ohio has won the award five of the past six years and nine years total. It is the most awarded campus chapter in SPJ’s history.
Founded in 1909, SPJ is the nation’s oldest and largest journalism organization in the nation. Its hallmarks are protecting the public’s right to an open government and training journalists to act ethically and respect diversity in the communities they cover.