Annually since 1964, the Society of Professional Journalists Virginia Pro Chapter gathers to honor a journalist or friend of journalism of exceptional character and dedication to the craft.
The George Mason Award is named for the Virginian who attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, but refused to sign the Constitution because it did not include a declaration of individual rights. The Bill of Rights, eventually added to the document, is based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written principally by Mason in 1776.
Nominations for the award are sought each winter. Recent George Mason Award recipients include:
2016 Dave Ress, The Daily Press
2015 Wilma Wirt, retired Virginia Commonwealth University professor
2014 Bob Brown, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
2013 Dick Hammerstrom, The Free-Lance Star
2012 J. Stewart Bryan III, Media General
2011 Craig Merritt, Christian & Barton
2010 Michael Paul Williams, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
2009 Bill Baskervill, Associated Press Virginia
2008 David M. Poole, Virginia Public Access Project
2007 Lawrence K. Emerson, The Culpeper Citizen and The Fauquier Citizen
2006 James Kendrick Woodley III, The Farmville Herald
2005 James A. Mann, The Free-Lance Star
2004 J Malcolm Pace III, The Herald-Progress (posthumous)
2003 Hampden H. Smith III, Washington & Lee University
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