The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro chapter, gave its George and Frances Crutchfield Distinguished Service Award for 2013 to longtime chapter leader Brian Eckert at the annual George Mason Banquet and Celebration June 18.
Eckert, an SPJ member since 1987, joined the Virginia Pro board in the late 1990s and would hold a number of positions over the years, including president from 2003 to 2005. Virginia Pro was named the outstanding small chapter by SPJ National during this time frame, in no small part due to his efforts.
More recently Eckert has served two terms as Regional Director for SPJ’s Region 2, covering states from Delaware to North Carolina. He was recognized by SPJ National as regional director of the year in 2011. During this past year, he has been a member of the eight-person SPJ executive committee that oversees the entire society and its 8,000 members. He will be leaving the national board this summer.
Eckert will continue to serve SPJVA as executive director of the Virginia SPJ,SDX Education Foundation, the chapter’s educational group.
As outgoing SPJVA President Paul Fletcher noted, “Through his leadership and dedication to SPJ, Brian truly has shown the rest of us how it’s done.”
The Crutchfield Distinguished Service Award is not given every year, but it is given when appropriate. SPJVA last gave this award in 2010, to George and Francine Crutchfield, longtime supporters and friends of the chapter and the educational foundation. The chapter renamed the award in their honor the following year.