AZ media professionals, students and others honored for 1st Amendment use & support at May 18 event

The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) pays tribute to working journalists and others with its annual Arizona First Amendment Awards and other recognition awards. This year, the Valley of the Sun SPJ has partnered with the Arizona Press Club and will co-present its awards at a reception set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at The Duce, 525 S. Central Ave., Phoenix. We are expecting more than 100 attendees. Tickets are $15 may be purchased at: Ticket price includes sliders and chips; there also will be three cash bars available.

Those being honored include:

First Amendment AwardKarina Bland, The Arizona Republic, for “Domestic violence deaths in Arizona tragically consistent”; Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic, for his four-part series on “The Price of Prisons”; Carol Ann Alaimo, the Arizona Daily Star, for “PCC legal costs skyrocket”; and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s News21 Project Team for “Who Can Vote?” The First Amendment Award honors published or broadcast work in 2012 that involved significant reliance on public records and open meetings

The Order of the Silver Key SocietyJill Jorden Spitz, senior editor, Arizona Daily Star; Bret McKeand, publisher & president of Operations, Independent Newspapers Inc., and Randi Weinstein, managing editor, Phoenix Business Journal (posthumous). The award pays tribute to journalists from any medium with at least 25 years of experience in the state of Arizona (consecutive or cumulative) whose careers exemplify high standards and consistent, top-quality journalism.

The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in JournalismMark Casey, VP and News Director, KPNX-TV Channel 12. The award honors an Arizona journalist who has demonstrated a continuous commitment over time of high standards of ethical professional conduct and a spirited defense of the First Amendment.