Reception to honor STAR Award Winners

Schmidt

Caitlin Schmidt

Members of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona (FACAZ) have chosen Caitlin Schmidt, with The Arizona Daily Star, and Craig Harris, with the Arizona Republic as the 2018 STAR Award winners. Caitlin and Craig are being honored for their efforts to protect the principles of the First Amendment and further the public’s right to know about government actions through their tenacious journalism.

A reception in their honor will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 in the First Amendment Forum at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave. Metered street parking available.

Caitlin’s work portfolio is remarkable in southern Arizona. She has uncovered corruption within the Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and wrote dozens of stories about law enforcement officers accused of serious misconduct. In late 2017, Caitlin shifted her efforts to focus on several allegations of sexual and domestic abuse involving University of Arizona athletes and coaches. Caitlin has won a dozen awards for investigative and government reporting during her four years at the Arizona Daily Star.

Harris

Craig Harris

Craig’s work in covering the Ducey administration and charter schools is without equal. While most state employees received meager or no raises, Craig exposed large raises handed out to Gov. Ducey’s inner circle last year. His work on charter schools showed how some charter owners are making a fortune, while the public school system deals with chronic underfunding. Craig has won multiple journalism awards, including the Polk, IRE and SPJ awards, as well as being a finalist for the Pulitzer.

During the reception, the two award winners will discuss their approaches to reporting and techniques they use to cover government. Free appetizers and drinks will precede the awards presentation. The event should wrap up by 6:30, with drinks at Chambers on First Street to follow (705 N. 1st St., #100).

Cooper receives Cronkite Award

By Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet

CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper accepted the 2018 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix. Arizona State University Executive Vice President and University Provost, Dr. Mark S. Searle presented the award to Cooper.

Cooper award“At a time in our history when journalism, facts and the truth itself are under attack every day, we believe that a free, robust and unfettered press remains the most essential element to the health and the future of our great country, our democracy and our freedom,” ASU Cronkite School Dean Chris Callahan said.

The journalism program at Arizona State University was named in honor of former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite in 1984. Gabriella Bachara, a senior student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, introduced Cooper, who accepted the award at a luncheon attended by a sellout crowd of more than 1,200 media leaders, business executives, civic leaders and Cronkite School supporters and students.

Cooper is the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning prime-time anchor of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” a newscast that goes beyond the headlines with in-depth reporting and investigations.

Cooper, also a correspondent for “60 Minutes” on CBS, has reported live from more than 40 countries since his journalism career began in 1992. He has earned a reputation as one television’s leading journalists.

Previously Cooper was and ABC News correspondent from 1995-2000, serving as anchor of ABC’s overnight newscast, “World News Now.” He also was a correspondent for “World News Tonight,” as well as “20/20.” He joined ABC from Channel One News, a school television network seen daily in more than 12,000 classrooms nationwide.

During his acceptance speech, Cooper recalled his childhood experiences watching Walter Cronkite on television. He also discussed the current political climate in which the press [is] attacked and special interests manipulate the truth.

“There is certainly much to criticize in the media and much to analyze and improve upon,” Cooper said. “But this I know: I know that the kids who are studying here (at the Cronkite School) to become journalists are not the enemies of the people.”

After the luncheon, Cooper spoke to more than 300 students who packed the First Amendment Forum. The 40-minute discussion, led by Cronkite senior Bryce Newberry, weaved Cooper’s stories from his hundreds of live reporting spots around the world with humor, a wealth of advice to the aspiring journalists and his own journey as a political science graduate of Yale University who rose through the ranks in television news.

While referring to Walter Cronkite as the “north star” of journalists, Cooper expressed humility and reverence for receiving the award as he stressed the importance of “finding your voice,” pursuing internships, learning every aspect of the business and “out-hustling everyone around you.”

“This is something that gets the heart pumping,” he said. “If it’s a genuine passion then you’ll put in the time and hours.”

He spoke of the “passion for this craft” in the face of “fake news” and other attacks on the media. Noting the increase in journalism degree enrollment, Cooper encouraged Cronkite students to learn everything they can about journalism, the world and “keep and follow whatever is unique to you.”

“You’re entering an incredibly honorable profession in which you can help save lives and inform people about things that can change their world,” he said. “It’s an incredibly honorable and tough profession, with unique challenges and difficulties. But at its core, there’s a real honor to doing it well.”

As part of Cooper’s daylong visit to ASU, Cooper anchored his CNN program, “Anderson Cooper 360” from the Cronkite School. He also hosted his Facebook Watch program “Anderson Cooper Full Circle.”

Each year, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism is presented to a recipient who is deemed to represent a leading figure in the journalism industry, especially for ground-breaking achievements which have advanced the industry as a whole.

Award recipients include TV news anchors Scott Pelley, Diane Sawyer, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill; newspaper journalists Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and Bob Woodward; and media executives Katharine Graham, Al Neuharth and William Paley. Cronkite personally presented the award during its first quarter-century until the CBS News anchor died in 2009.

KTAR News honored with Crystal Award

KTAR News was selected as recipient of the Crystal Award by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for its outstanding year-round commitment to community service.

“I am tremendously proud of the commitment our employees demonstrate day in and day out to uphold our company’s mission of serving and making a positive difference in our community,” said Scott Sutherland, VP/Marketing Manager for Bonneville Phoenix. “And for this to be our fourth Crystal Award win in a decade is remarkable.”

NAB Crystal Radio Award finalists were chosen by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organization and public relations firms. Finalists were honored and winners announced at the April 10 We Are Broadcasters Celebration, where FCC Chairman Ajit Pai delivered remarks about local radio and television stations’ vital role in communities and ongoing commitment to innovation that enables broadcasters to better serve listeners and viewers.

This is the fourth time KTAR News has been recognized with a Crystal Award for community service. Judges cited, among other things, the Give-A-Thon for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, which KTAR News produces, and has now grown to become the largest children’s hospital fundraiser of its kind in the United States.

Valley of the Sun SPJ presents Freedom of Information Awards in Scottsdale

Phoenix, AZ, Sept. 20, 2014 — The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) honored nine journalists, two newspapers and two television stations with its 2014 Freedom of Information Awards winners Saturday, Sept. 20, recognizing outstanding work done by members of the state’s media that substantially made use of public records in 2013.

The awards were presented during the Arizona Newspapers Association’s 75th annual fall convention and meeting at the Chaparral Suites in Scottsdale. Valley of the Sun SPJ joined in partnership with ANA for awards presentations for the first time this year, joining the Arizona Associated Press Managing Editors, who have been making its awards presentations at the annual ANA event for several years.

In addition to its First Amendment Awards for outstanding journalism based significantly on access to public records and/or open meetings, Valley of the Sun SPJ also honored with induction into the Order of the Silver Key media professionals who have had long and distinguished careers in Arizona.

Gary Nelson, retired from The Arizona Republic, received the chapter’s highest honor, the Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Here are the awards Valley of the Sun SPJ presented on Sept. 20, 2014:

First Amendment Awards:

  • Morgan Loew, CBS 5/AZ-KPHO, for “Sheriff Arpaio’s SVU”
  • Craig Harris, Beth Duckett and Dustin Gardiner, The Arizona Republic, for “Arizona’s public pension systems”
  • Wendy Halloran, KPNX-TV, for “Phoenix Fire Department arson squad members’ false claims”
  • Craig Harris and Rob O’Dell, The Arizona Republic, for “Troubled youths abused at residential treatment centers”
  • Arizona Daily Star, and education reporter Alexis Huicochea, team leader Joe Burchell, and Editor Bobbie Jo Buel, for lawsuit, “Pressing TUSD to release superintendent candidates’ names”

The First Amendment Awards recognize efforts that substantially relied on public records and open meetings to produce top-quality journalism.

Order of the Silver Key Society:

  • Pete Aleshire, Editor-in-Chief, Payson Roundup
  • Ed Sharpe of the Glendale Daily Planet
  • Kathy Tulumello, Business editor, The Arizona Republic

The Order of the Silver Key honors journalists who have been in the profession for at least 25 years, a significant majority of which were in Arizona, who have conspicuously contributed to the journalism profession and have inspired fellow journalists.

Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism:

Gary Nelson, retired from of The Arizona Republic

   The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism recognizes the career of an Arizona journalist whose body of work has served to inspire fellow journalists, including a notable commitment to the cause of freedom of information. The award is named for Phil Alvidrez, who retired as news director at Phoenix’s KTVK-TV (Channel 3) after 20 years in that position. Alvidrez was a tireless campaigner for the free flow of government information, often committing his station’s financial resources to fight numerous court battles to open closed documents and meetings.

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli, Valley of the Sun SPJ treasurer, at 602-410-1267 or teri@phoenixspj.org.

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. Our Valley of the Sun chapter has been doing the same since 1958.

Awards contest deadline is July 11

Each year, the Valley of the Sun Chapter of SPJ presents its annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards, honoring excellence in journalism and in open government in Arizona during the previous calendar year. Other awards are given for dedication and outstanding service in journalism, as well as for special recognition for efforts on behalf of the First Amendment.

Nominations must be postmarked NO LATER THAN Friday, July 11 and mailed to: Teri Carnicelli, c/o North Central News, 5308 N. 12th St., Suite 402, Phoenix, AZ  85014. Self-nominations are welcome. E-mail submissions can be sent to spjteri@gmail.com.

Award categories include:

  • The First Amendment Awards, which recognize efforts that substantially relied on public records and open meetings to produce top quality journalism.
  • The Order of the Silver Key, which honors journalists who have been in the profession for at least 25 years, a significant majority of which were in Arizona, who have conspicuously contributed to the journalism profession and have inspired fellow journalists.
  • The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism, which recognizes the career of an Arizona journalist whose body of work has served to inspire fellow journalists, including a notable commitment to the cause of freedom of information. The award is named for Phil Alvidrez, who retired as news director at Phoenix’s KTVK-TV (Channel 3) after 20 years in that position. Alvidrez was a tireless campaigner for the free flow of government information, often committing his station’s financial resources to fight numerous court battles to open closed documents and meetings.

There is NO COST to enter the awards contest. Award nomination forms can be downloaded from the http://www.phoenixspj.org website under “Awards & Scholarships.”

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli at 602-410-1267 or spjteri@gmail.com.

Valley of the Sun SPJ extends awards contest

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the spring awards event originally planned by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of SPJ had to be postponed. The chapter now will be partnering with the Arizona Newspapers Association (ANA) to co-present its awards at ANA’s fall awards event, set for 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Chaparral Suites Resort, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.

The Valley of the Sun SPJ’s annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards honor excellence in journalism and in open government in Arizona during the previous calendar year. The nomination period has been extended, with entries needing to be postmarked no later than Friday, July 11. Self-nominations are welcome. Entries that were received earlier this year (for the original spring event) are still eligible and do not need to be re-submitted.

There is NO COST to enter the awards contest. The First Amendment Award nomination form, as well as the Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Order of the Silver Key Society award forms, can be found on this website under “Awards & Scholarships.”

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli at 602-410-1267 or teri@phoenixspj.org.

Freedom of Information Awards Winners Announced

The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) pays tribute to working journalists and others at its annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards Reception, 12:00 p.m. Saturday, April 21 in the Monte Vista Room of the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. The keynote speaker will be Valley TV and radio icon, Pat McMahon.

Those being honored include:

  • First Amendment Award — Elvina Nawagun-Clemente, Cronkite News Service; Staff, The Arizona Republic; Matthew Casey, The Tombstone Epitaph; Hillary Davis, Arizona Daily Sun; Lauren Gambino, Tia Casañeda and Heather Billings, Cronkite News Service; Joe Ferguson, Arizona Daily Sun; Cyndy Cole, Arizona Daily Sun
  • Sunshine Award — Todd Feltus & Greg Collins, Kercsmar & Feltus PLLC, on behalf of Judicial Watch; Teri Hayt, Arizona Daily Star
  • The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism — Tom Arviso Jr., Navajo Times
  • The Order of the Silver Key Society — Al Macias, KJZZ; Ken Western, The Arizona Republic; and Bill Heywood (posthumous).

Tickets are $45 for SPJ members, $50 for non-members, and $40 for students. Tickets can be purchased online via Paypal. Otherwise, mail checks to the P.O. Box address listed below by no later than Monday, April 16. Checks or cash will be accepted at the door, but RSVPs are required via e-mail by April 16. Tickets include the reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, iced tea, coffee and dessert, and a memorable time honoring outstanding examples of the use of the First Amendment in shining a light on important public issues.

Phoenix SPJ Seeks Nominations for Freedom of Information Awards

Arizona media professionals who produced informative news items for the public by making use of public records requests are invited to submit their stories for consideration in the 2012 Freedom of Information Awards contest, presented by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Categories include:

  • First Amendment Awards – honoring published or broadcast work in 2011 that involved significant reliance on public records and open meetings
  • Sunshine Awards – honoring Arizonans (both journalists and non-journalists) whose actions helped foster greater openness in government in 2011 through improved access to public records or open meetings
  • Order of the Silver Key Society – paying 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 Lloyd Clark “How it Made Print” Award – honoring print journalists (all circulations) responsible for a published story, photograph or graphic design whose own story of how it became reality is exceptional. Unusually difficult circumstances, or unusual tenacity in pursing the story, will be the hallmark of the subject of the winning entry. Entries need not have been published in 2011.

There is no cost to enter the contest. Nominations can be from employers/supervisors as well as self-nominations. The deadline to enter is March 19, 2012. For more information, download the 2012 Freedom of Information Awards brochure.

Entry Forms

Phoenix SPJ Names 2010 Scholarship Recipient

The Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter of SPJ has begun setting aside funds for an annual scholarship, to be presented each spring to a college student who is majoring in journalism. With the increase in college tuition and decrease in available government loans and grants, we know how vital every dollar can be.

This year’s $500 scholarship was presented to Leigh Anne Zinsmeister, a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, on April 17 during the chapter’s annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards Reception.

Zinsmeister plans to graduate in May of 2012 and hopes to work as a magazine editor.

“No matter what field I end up in, I hope to deliver the news to the people and keep them informed while building and maintaining their trust in me as a journalist,” she said.

The chapter awarded its first $500 scholarship to community college student Heather Lacey, who was enrolled in the journalism program at Phoenix College. Lacey was given her scholarship in August 2008.