Archive for September, 2021

William Paterson University professor, Nicholas Hirshon, named outstanding campus adviser for second time

From a release by SPJ …

The Society of Professional Journalists has named Nicholas Hirshon as the recipient of the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award for a second time. Hirshon is a journalism professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey, where he also advises and co-founded the SPJ student chapter.

The Eshelman Award is presented annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the campus chapter for which he or she serves as SPJ adviser.

In 2020, the chapter hosted nine ‘Reality Check’ events, which Hirshon moderated, each one focusing on a different topic in journalism. The chapter had many guests who gave advice about items such as sports reporting, reporting during the pandemic, balancing creative writing and journalism, truth in journalism and more.


NJ SPJ’s Steve Lubetkin Honored by SPJ with Howard S. Dubin Award

The following is from a release from the Society of Professional Journalists …

SPJ selected Steve Lubetkin as a recipient of the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award for his contributions to New Jersey SPJ.

When the New Jersey Press Association announced it would no longer give press credentials to non-members, it stranded hundreds of journalists. Seeking help, the New Jersey Pro Chapter (NJ-SPJ) reached out to Steve Lubetkin, who had the skills to make the chapter’s press card program a huge success. He worked on the site almost daily, personally contacting members and making corrections to the database and PayPal.

“He is personally responsible for helping hundreds of journalists continue to do their jobs with minimal hassle,” New Jersey Pro Chapter President Bob Schapiro said.

When the need arose, Lubetkin assumed the duties of the chapter’s secretary. He sent out announcements of events, facilitated communication among members and ran the website. Later, he presented the board with several options of software it could purchase to eliminate problems the chapter was experiencing. Once approved, Lubetkin installed the new modules, while personally migrating the information of over 200 members. The board then voted to expand its membership, making him a trustee. A few months after that, the nominating committee selected him as the new secretary. Moving beyond the press cards, he unveiled the new website, with ongoing news feeds.

“Steve put out a lot of fires and gave people many opportunities,” Schapiro said. “He truly deserves an award.”

He was honored virtually during EIJ 2021 in September.

Region 1 Chapters Take Home Top Honors

The SPJ chapters in New Jersey and New England were recognized nationally for their efforts in advocacy and education over the last year.

New Jersey was named as a finalist for SPJ National Large Chapter of the Year and won an SPJ Circle of Excellence Award for FOI/First Amendment work.

New England Pro was recognized with a Circle of Excellent Award for their work in diversity.

Read more about other winners from around the country.

Thanks for the Support, Let’s Keep Pushing Forward

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in this year’s election for SPJ Region 1 Coordinator.

The election was uncontested, but I still appreciate the support of everyone who voted and expressed their interest in working together.

Congrats to all other regional coordinators and SPJ national winners. Everyone has the best interest for SPJ’s continued growth and evolution.

As laid out in a previous blog post, we had a productive chat during the Region 1 meeting during EIJ. We have a working plan that will set us up for success in the coming months.


Recap from SPJ Region 1 Meeting During EIJ 2021

About 20 SPJ members from Region 1 gathered virtually for this year’s annual meeting.

The meeting lasted about 45 minutes and covered a range of topics related to the region.

Regional Conference Schedule: The Press Club of Long Island will host the 2022 Region 1 conference at Hofstra University in March. Connecticut Pro will host 2023 at Roger Williams University. The Deadline Club will host in 2025 to coincide with the organization’s 100th anniversary. That leaves 2024 open, but there was a suggestion to return to Pennsylvania in some capacity, perhaps in the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area. This was not discussed with the new Keystone Chapter board, however, so it’s a conversation to be had soon and not a rush as we have some time to plan and coordinate.

Developing more campus chapters: It’s been a goal of SPJ national and a goal in our region since I was appointed in January to add more campus chapters. I have made contact with more than a dozen schools in the northeast that are interested in either starting from scratch or bringing a chapter back to their campus. I’ll follow up this fall with more info on those, but there was a good discussion about how to gather some SPJ swag, create a marketing deck to use during campus discussions and leverage alumni from those schools in our SPJ network to build connections. We have a busy school year ahead!

More regional discussions: I expressed to the group a desire to meet every few months as a region because it’s evident we’re stronger together. Look out for an invite to something later this year!

Summer journalism institute: A number of passionate SPJ leaders have been meeting over the last few months to develop a possible summer journalism institute for summer 2022. More to come on this as we’ll have another meeting this fall. We hope to attract high school students to a campus in our region for a few days (or less) and bring in instructors to teach the fundamentals and get the students creating content.

Regional Fund and Chapter Contributions: As always, we ask that local pro chapters in Region 1 contribute to the regional fund, which can help support chapter initiatives. Please reach out to SPJ Region 1 Treasurer Bill Bleyer for more information at




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