The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. We are dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. We promote the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, work to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and aim to protect the First Amendment.
The Cleveland Chapter, founded in 1950 by a group of 21 members, has grown to become one of the largest SPJ chapters in the nation. Through an array of programs and events, we help journalists build their skills, offer a place to discuss journalism issues of the day and provide social and networking opportunities. Stop by our next program to get to know us.
Our electronic Writer's Week is a link to what is going on in journalism in Greater Cleveland and the rest of northern Ohio. It provides updates on our programs, job postings and other items of interest to journalists. This is where you will find the latest information on our next program. See latest issue or archived issues.
Join our Cleveland Chapter of SPJ at this link by signing up for a national membership and adding on the Cleveland Chapter membership. The local dues, which cover admission to many events, are $20 a year. You may fill out the application online or print out a pdf and mail or fax it in.
We are proud to offer our Porter Scholarship annually to a high school student demonstrating the skills and desire to enter our profession. Each year's scholarship winner receives a $1,000 per year college scholarship — $4,000 over four years. Learn more
We honor the best in a variety of ways. Our annual journalism contests recognize the best works from the previous year. And, separately, the chapter board selects veteran journalists for Distinguished Service and Lifetime Achievement awards. Learn more.
The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has an array of events during the course of each year, designed to educate, collaborate, network and honor. Consider joining us at our next event. We are now in the process of putting together our schedule for the fall.
We had a meet-up June 1 at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Churchin Rocky River to watch "Shadows of Liberty," a film that examines censorship, cover-ups and corporate control of the news media.
We had our annual luncheon at the City Club to honor a top journalist and a journalist in training. Debora Lee, recently retired from Newschannel 5, received our Distinguished Service Award. And Samantha Harris, a graduating center from Brunswick High School, received the Porter Scholarship to help with her college tuition. She will be attending Ohio State University.
Police Force and the Media, hosted by the SPJ Cleveland and John Carroll University chapters, was held April 22 at John Carroll University. Panelists — Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Ryllie Danylko, law student Chris Esparza-Rivero and columnist Mansfield Frazier — explored media coverage issues of police force in the wake of the Tamir Rice case. Videos at these four links feature Cimperman and Danylko, Esparaza and Frazier, a Q&A period and additional Q&A.
We always look to celebrate when the media does the right thing, but what about when we get off track? To remember a time we should not forget, the Chapter had a meetup March 4 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage to view the exhibit "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda."
The SPJ's campus chapter at Ohio University on March 20-21 hosted the Region 4 Conference in Athens. Programming began Friday with an opening reception that offered a networking opportunity and silent auction to benefit the Legal Defense Fund. Professional development sessions continued all day Saturday, highlighted by the Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon.
Jim Sheeler, professor of English and media writing at Case Western Reserve University, headlined our January event at the new Hofbräuhaus in downtown Cleveland. The Jan. 22 event began with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by our speaker at 6:30 p.m. Sheeler won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for a 12,000-word story in the Rocky Mountain News. He followed a U.S. Marine Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and the families he worked with during the Iraq war. He later wrote the book, Final Salute, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in nonfiction.
The Northeast Ohio Communications Advocates' annual holiday party was at Massimo da Milano in Ohio State, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 2. SPJ participates in this holiday party, along with many other organizations representing communicators in Northeast Ohio, from public relations to advertising.
We got together at the Speakeasy Room at the Bier Market in Ohio City to talk ethics with Kevin Z. Smith, a member of SPJ's national Ethics Committee and a past national president of SPJ. Smith went over the new ethics code and explained the discussions that went into the changes. A social hour started at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Become part of our journalism mission and take part in networking and education opportunities by joining the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which represents all of northern Ohio.
You may fill out the application online at this link or print out a pdf and mail or fax it in.
When you reach the bottom of the form under Local Chapter Dues there will be a drop down menu where you can then select the Cleveland Pro Chapter. The local dues are $20 per year, and cover the cost of attendance for many of our regional events.
Be sure to fill out all areas in bold on the Membership Application, including the question about which medium you are associated with.
If you have questions, or would like to sign up by phone, call the SPJ national headquarters at 317-927-8000. Be sure to specify the Cleveland Pro Chapter as your local affiliation.
The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists board represents a variety of backgrounds in local media and education.
Rodney Bengston, a board member since 2010, oversaw editorial staff at multiple Sun newspapers during a career that started as a reporter and then editor. He currently does freelance writing and public relations work. Rodney also has a unique talent outside journalism: stand-up comedy. Rodney is a co-director of the annual Cleveland Comedy Festival, which is held in November. Rodney is a graduate of Cleveland State University, with a communications degree.
Faith Boone became a member of the SPJ board in 2014. She is social media specialist at WEWS NewsChannel 5 in Cleveland, managing all social media for the station and helping anchors and reporters with reader engagement to boost their social network following. Faith previously worked as social media strategist for Stevens Strategic Communications and as a reporter/blogger for the Sun newspapers. She received her journalism degree from Cleveland State University.
Carrie Buchanan, a board member since 2008, worked as a news reporter in Montreal and Ottawa for 15 years before moving to the Cleveland area. During a 12-year career at the Ottawa Citizen, Carrie covered a wide range of stories, from politics and environment to social issues. She started teaching in 1999 at Carleton University’s School of Journalism & Communication in Ottawa. In 2009 she joined the journalism faculty at John Carroll University, where she is an assistant professor in the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts. Carrie has a doctorate of mass communication and a master's of journalism from Carleton University, and a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology from Bryn Mawr College.
Stan Bullard, a board member since about 1990, joined Crain's Cleveland Business as a reporter in 1986. Since 2000, his reporting has concentrated on real estate and related industries. With the exception of one year in public relations, Stan has worked as a journalist covering Northeast Ohio since 1976. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the Cleveland SPJ chapter in 2014. Stan received his journalism degree from Kent State University.
Cheryl D'Mello, a board member since 2010, is an adjunct college instructor after a career in newspapers in India and the United States. Cheryl has a master's degree in communications theory and methodology from Cleveland State University and a master's in English literature from Mumbai University, India. Her articles have appeared in several publications in India, the Middle East and the United States.
Rich Exner, a board member since 2010, has covered a variety of beats as a reporter and editor over the years. He currently works for the Northeast Ohio Media Group, provider of content for cleveland.com, The Plain Dealer and the Sun newspapers. As NEOMG's data analysis editor, Rich focuses on data journalism, providing unique analysis on news, business and sports topics, and creating interactive online presentations for this research. Before joining The Plain Dealer, Rich ran UPI's Cleveland bureau. He is a journalism graduate of Ohio State University and an adjunct instructor of journalism at Cuyahoga Community College.
Holly Hammersmith, a board member since 2014, worked at the Sandusky Register and The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette before moving to the Cleveland area. She now works independently, providing content writing and editing services to business owners, organizations and individuals. She also writes freelance journalism articles for web and print-based publications. Holly earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University, and has a certificate in marketing strategy for business leaders from Cornell University.
Tony Kozlowski a board member since 1995, got his start in journalism at the Sun newspapers before moving into public relations. He is president of Kozlowski & Associates and a communication contractor for the Eaton Corp. Tony previously worked for Cuyahoga Community College, BP America and the Standard Oil Co. He is a graduate of Ohio University.
Tom Moore, a board member since 1995, has been a familiar voice on Cleveland-area radio since 1987. Currently heard locally on NewsRadio WTAM 1100, his work with iHeartMedia has also involved anchoring newscasts from suburban Independence for stations in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron, Madison and Mansfield/Ashland. He previously did news for WERE in Cleveland, WBKC in Painesville and stations in Maryland, Delaware and Michigan. He is a graduate of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University.
Chris Mosby, a board member since 2013, is an associate editor of GIE Media, working on Greenhouse Management and Produce Grower magazines. Chris previously worked at Sun newspapers. He received his communications degree from John Carroll University.
Kaye Spector, a SPJ board member since 2013, has a long career as a reporter and editor at Greater Cleveland news outlets, including The Plain Dealer, Patch, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette. Kaye currently researches, writes and edits stories for Health Hub, a blog from the Cleveland Clinic. Kaye has an undergraduate journalism degree from Ohio State University and a master's in journalism from Kent State University.
We are proud to offer our Porter Scholarship annually to a high school senior demonstrating the skills and desire to enter our profession. Each year's winner receives a $1,000 per year college scholarship — $4,000 over four years.
Graduating high school seniors from schools in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties are eligible. They must be planning to enter the field of journalism or communications. The scholarship is named for Philip W. Porter, a long-time Plain Dealer editor who was one of the co-founders of the Cleveland SPJ Chapter.
Applications are mailed each year to high school guidance counselors and journalism advisors. An application with complete rules can also be downloaded at this link.
Incomplete application forms or applications without complete documentation will not be considered for the scholarship. We will also not accept online submissions or e-mail attachment-file submissions.
Applications should be sent to: SPJ Scholarship Committee; c/o Prof. Anup Kumar; Cleveland State University; 2121 Euclid Ave., MU-251; Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
IMPORTANT: The 2015 deadline is April 1.
2015: Samantha Harris
2014: Jacob Gedetsis
2013: Thomas Hamzik
2012: Carolyn Crowcroft
2011: Savannah S. Kannberg
2010: Hanna Moosa
2009: Simonetta Quartell
2008: Melissa Kory
2007: Sarah A. Miller
2006: Amber Lewandowski
2005: Justin Armburger
2004: Benjamin Sykes
2003: Rebecca Trela
2002: Rami Daud
2001: Matthew Hutton
2000: Leana Donofrio
1999: Andrew Netzel
1998: Gayle Horwitz
1997: Rachel Dissell
1996: Corrine Henahan
1995: Matthew A. Walcoff
1994: Pia W. Smith
1993: Jessica Blythe Leary
1992: Lori Ann Lessner
1991: Heather Bruce.
1990: Stephanie (Bodo) Storm
1989: Jenean Atwood
1988: Naomi Annandale
1988: Melissa Kossler
1987: June Weiler
1986: Michael Gallagher
1986: Elizabeth Mercer
1985: Dennis Manoloff
1984: Recipient left school
1983: Kathryn Kudravi
1982: Laurie Abraham
1981: Robert Bundy
1980: Diedre Depke
1979: Helen Karakoudas
1978: Eve Sarris
1977: Michael Pesarchick
1976: Marcia (Meermans)
1975: Barbranda Lumpkins
1974: Joseph J. Kay
1973: Mark O'Donnell
1972: Kay Ann (Morrow) Rolland
1971: Steven Osterhout
1970: Paul Bednarski
1969: Raphael Schlesinger
1968: David Louie
1967: Michael MarinoI
1966: David Elsner
1965: Lloyd Siegel
1964: Jeffrey Chokel
The Cleveland Chapter honors journalists with the Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor the Chapter can bestow for service. Journalists are nominated by the Board. In exceptional cases, the Board may choose a journalist to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award - the highest honor SPJ Cleveland can bestow upon a professional to recognize a career of accomplishments.
Note: x-denotes Lifetime Achievement Award
2015: Debora Lee
2014: Connie Schultz, Stan Bullard
2013: Tom Beres, Tom Moore
2012: Brian Tucker, Tony Kozlowski
2011: Brent Larkin, Jae-won Lee
2010: Jim Collins
2009: Dick Hendrickson
2008: Wendy Hoke, David Marburger
2007: Doug Clifton (x)
2006: No DSAs Made
2005: No DSAs Made
2004: No DSAs Made
2003: Elizabeth Sullivan, Paul Tepley, John Cole (x)
2002: Roldo Bartimole, Dan Coughlin
2001: John Bowen, Peter Miller
2000: Ted Henry, Jerry Masek
1999: Dick Zunt, Neil Zurcher
1998: Mary Strassmeyer (x)
1997: Joe Mosbrook, Paul Young, Sal Marino (x)
1996: Bob Tayek, Russ Schneider
1995: Doris O'Donnell, Darrell Holland, Don Robertson (x)
1994: Marc Gleisser, Nev Chandler
1993: Del Donahoo, Lou Mio
1992: Hugh Danaceau, Ron Kuntz
1991: Leon Bibb, William F. Miller, Mike Roberts, Thomas Vail (x)
1990: Betty Cope, Dick Feagler, Chuck Heaton
1989: Norman Mlachak, Dick Murway, William O. Walker
1987-88: Virgil Dominic, Dick Goddard, Jane Scott
1986: Peter Bellamy, Bill Barrett, Marge Alge
1985: Russell Faist, Harry Volk, Dave Talbott
1984: Theodore Andrica, Dick Peters, Fred Griffith
1983: Ray Osrin, Don Peters, Neal Van Ellis
1982: Doug Adair, Tom Boardman, Charlie Day
1981: Bob August, Hal Lebovitz
1980: George Condon, Dick McLaughlin
1979: John Huth, Dorothy Fuldheim
1978: Lewis Edwards, Julian Krawcheck
1977: David Rimmel, Marie Daerr Boehringer
1976: Milt Widder, Howard Preston
1975: Edward Kuekes, Bob Seltzer
1974: Fred Bottomer, Dudley Brumbach
1973: James Doyle, Philip Porter
1972: David Dietz, Richard Maher