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 firstname.lastname@example.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.