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Release: Nov. 1, 2000

UI journalism students again win top national award from professional group

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For the second consecutive year, the University of Iowa campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has won the National Outstanding Campus Chapter Award. The UI chapter is the first ever to win the award two years in a row, each time beating 11 other university SPJ chapters to win the national recognition. The award was announced at the SPJ national convention, which was held in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 26-28.

Each year the Society recognizes both professional and campus chapters for their outstanding professional programs, service activities, membership growth, fund-raising projects and chapter communication through newsletters and other sources. The UI chapter first was named the best campus chapter in its region, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and then was judged against other regional campus winners on the basis of its annual report.

Richard Johns, a UI professor of journalism who has been the SPJ faculty advisor for 28 years, said he was pleased to see the students' efforts pay off in the unprecedented honor a second straight year.

"This is an unusual accomplishment," he said. "The judges said they were impressed with our strength in each of the categories they considered."

The officers for 1999-2000 were: Alissa Swango, president; Jenni Evans, vice president; Jeremy Shapiro, treasurer; Kelly Gray, program director; Lauren McClain, public relations director; Kate Thayer, newsletter coordinator; and Richard Johns, SPJ faculty advisor. Gray and Shapiro continue as officers this year, with Gray taking over as president and Shapiro retaining his position as treasurer.

Other regional campus chapter award winners were: Syracuse University, University of Maryland, University of Miami, Ohio University, Indiana University at Bloomington, St. Cloud State University, Southwest Texas State University, Colorado State University, University of Oregon, San Diego State University, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


FROM 1999 RELEASE: In presenting the award Gordon "Mac" McKerral, vice president for Campus Chapter Affairs at SPJ, said the UI chapter had an excellent well-rounded program that involved a variety of chapter members. He cited the addition of 28 new members, the raising of $2,800 to help support chapter activities and provide funding to send student members to national and regional conventions, the outstanding chapter newsletters, and a special service project in which members participated in the UI Dance Marathon to support fund raising for children with serious illnesses.