Cleveland Chapter — Society of Professional Journalists

  • Edgewater Park, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio, 1916

  • Cleveland Museum of Art

  • Wade Oval Wednesday party, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

The SPJ Mission

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.

Cleveland chapter

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.

Writer's Week

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 the latest issues and our Writer's Week archives.

Join SPJ Cleveland

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.

Porter Scholarship

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. The 2017 deadline is April 15.

Contests & honors

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.

Upcoming events

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. Always check Latest Writer's Week for the latest information.


Feb. 16 — 2017

Join us at the Bier Market in Ohio City on Thursday, Feb. 16, for our program "Fighting Fake News." Panelists will be Ted Diadiun, an editorial board member and columnist at; Jan Leach, a media ethics expert from Kent State University; and Brent Brossmann, a debate expert from John Carroll University. The panel will be moderated by Chris Mosby, the SPJ's Cleveland Chapter president. Get together for some social time from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Admission of $5 covers appetizers. There will be a cash bar. Both members and non-members are welcome.


November — 2016

Panelists discussed "Getting Answers to Difficult Questions" during our Nov. 17 event at the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City. Taking part were William Kimberlin, psychology professor and author of "Watch me Die" about death row inmates; Cory Shaffer, crime and criminal justice reporter for; Captain Guy Turner of Westlake Police Department; and Rick Porello, both an author of organized crime books and the police chief in Lyndhurst. They spoke about interviewing people at difficult times and getting answers to tough questions.

September — 2016

Every year, SPJ awards scholarships to help members attend the Excellence in Journalism national conference. This year the conference was Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans. The annual conference presents a great opportunity to network with members and other journalists from all stages of their careers, and learn skills, tips and tools to grow your career.

July — 2016

The new board for the Cleveland chapter of SPJ was installed during our July meeting.

June — 2016

Long-time, Plain Dealer and News-Herald sportswriter Paul Hoynes received our chapter's Distinguished Service Award during a luncheon at the City Club in downtown Cleveland on June 8. During the same event, aspiring journalist Gretchen Lasso from Amherst Steele High School received the 2016 Porter scholarship. Lasso has enrolled in the communications program at Kent State University.

May — 2016

We gathered at the Parma-Snow Library Branch on May 25 for a free showing of Spotlight — the Oscar-winning film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James and Rachel McAdams as the reporters and editors who earned a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for their unearthing of a widespread child molestation scandal being covered up by the Catholic Church.

April — 2016

This year’s SPJ regional conference was April 1-2 in Cincinnati. Dozens of panelists and speakers were on hand from a variety of news organizations and colleges throughout the region.

Also, we had a health journalism panel on April 22 with Lydia Coutre of Crain’s Cleveland Business, Monica Robbins of WKYC-TV and Brie Zeltner of The Plain Dealer.

March — 2016

Celebrating Women in Cleveland Media was the topic of an event at John Carroll University. Panelists included Micki Byrnes of WKYC, Ryllie Danylko and Leila Atassi from, and Tonya Strong Charles of John Carroll. The event was organized by John Carroll’s chapter of SPJ.

February — 2016

The SPJ chapter gathered on Feb. 4, at the Valley View Cinemark to see Oscar-nominated film Spotlight. The movie told the story of the Boston Globe's investigative reporting of sex allegations in the Catholic church.

November — 2015

Reporting is not just about writing and producing a story. You need to ask the right questions. Reporters Brian Bull of WCPN/Ideastream, Ron Regan of NewsChannel 5 and James Sheeler of Case Western Reserve University shared their interviewing tips. In attendance for the event at the Barley House were a wide range of people, from college students to veteran reporters.

October — 2015

The Ohio SPJ Awards Program was aboard the Belle of Cincinnati, departing frm iots home port in Newport, Ky., on Oct. 24. Here are the winners for the 2015 Ohio SPJ awards.

June — 2015

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.

May — 2015

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.

April — 2015

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.

March — 2015

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.

January — 2015

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.

December — 2014

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.

November — 2014

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.

Join SPJ

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 SPJ Board

The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists board represents a variety of backgrounds in local media and education.

Faith Boone

Faith Boone

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, 1st vice president

Carrie Buchanan

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 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.

David Campbell

David Campbell

David Campbell has been sports manager of since August 2013, coordinating coverage of the Browns, Cavaliers, Indians and Ohio State, as well as high school sports. For 13 years, he worked at The Plain Dealer as Metropolitan Sports Editor, Associate Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor/Online. Before coming to Cleveland, David was Sports Editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana and a sports writer at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. He has a master's in Communication Management from John Carroll University and a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois. David has been active in the Cleveland youth hockey community as a coach and referee. A Chicago native, he lives in North Olmsted with his wife, Cathy; daughter, Cait; and son, Patrick.

Cheryl D'Mello

Cheryl D'Mello

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.

Joe Ginley

Joe Ginley

Joe Ginley became a board member in 2016. He is a communications coordinator at Saint Ignatius High School, overseeing social media, marketing and communications for the school's athletics program. He also serves as a moderator for the school's student newspaper (The Eye) and broadcasting network (SIBN). In his free time, he writes about the Browns for Dawgs By Nature, an SB Nation affiliate. Joe graduated with a communications degree from John Carroll University, where he served as managing editor for the award-winning Carroll News and sports director for WJCU.

Tony Kozlowski

Tony Kozlowski

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.

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell became a board member in 2016. She is an editor at ScripType Publishing in Richfield, where she edits Brecksville Magazine, Independence Today and The BroadView Journal. She also tutors English, reading and writing at Huntington Learning Center on the weekends. She previously worked as a reporter at the Cleveland Jewish News. Jackie received her bachelor's degree in journalism from John Carroll University.

Tom Moore, secretary-treasurer

Tom Moore

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, president

Chris Mosby

Chris Mosby, who has been a board member since 2013, is the Ohio Editor for, a position he has held since 2016. His work has previously appeared in Sun News, Produce Grower magazine, Greenhouse Management magazine, and BoneZone magazine. He also served as emcee of the 2016 OMTEC event in Chicago. He is a 2012 graduate of John Carroll University.

Michelle Simakis

Michelle Simakis

Michelle Simakis joined the board in 2016 and is editor of Garden Center magazine, a monthly B2B publication serving independent garden centers and produced by GIE Media. She previously worked in daily news as local editor of Cleveland Heights Patch, covering crime, schools, city council, the arts and more. Michelle is an Ohio University grad with a degree in journalism.

Kaye Spector, immediate past president

Kaye Spector

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 Essentials, 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.

Rich Exner (non-board member), chapter webmaster

Rich Exner

Rich Exner, a board member from 2010-16, has covered a variety of beats as a reporter and editor over the years. Currently, as'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, Rich was a reporter and editor at The Plain Dealer and ran UPI's Cleveland bureau. He is a journalism graduate of Ohio State University, an adjunct instructor of journalism at Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University, and classroom speaker and seminar instructor on data journalism.

Porter Scholarship

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. There is a firm deadline of April 14, 2017.

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 Cheryl D'Mello; Cleveland State University; 2121 Euclid Ave., MU-244; Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

IMPORTANT: The 2017 deadline is April 14.

Past winners

2016: Gretchen Lasso

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) Aghajanian

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.

Past winners

Note: x-denotes Lifetime Achievement Award

2016: Paul Hoynes

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), Jerry Masek (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

Ohio SPJ contest

The Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists are jointly accepting entries for the Ohio SPJ Awards competition for work published in 2015.

Eligible journalists must work for newspaper, magazine, radio, television, trade, online or college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio. Freelance journalists with residence in Ohio are eligible, regardless of where their work is published.

Learn more about the contest at The deadline for entries is March 28.

Latest Writer's Week

Here are links to the past several editions of our Writer's Week. This is the best location to find what events we have coming up, learn about job opportunities and more.