SPJVA accepting nominations for 2021 George Mason Award

The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter, seeks nominations for its 56th George Mason Award, to be presented in fall 2021.

The annual award has only one stated criterion: It recognizes a person who “has made outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism.” Those contributions may include:

  • Reporting and writing that has righted a wrong, caused a sea change in attitudes or changed a law;
  • Starting a watchdog group that exposed violation of the public trust, forced a reluctant government to make the people’s business public, or defended a reporter or news organization from unjust persecution;
  • Mentoring young reporters who went on to outstanding careers;
  • Or some other specific, noteworthy accomplishment.

SPJ Virginia Pro has presented the George Mason Award since 1964. Winners have included reporters, columnists, editorial writers, publishers, broadcast station owners, attorneys, directors of public interest organizations and professional development associations. They have worked for organizations large and small. A complete list of recipients can be found at https://spjva.com/

You may nominate yourself or someone else. Nominations should be made in letter form to Wilford Kale, chair of the SPJ Virginia Pro George Mason Award Selection Committee, via email at kalehouse@aol.com or addressed to:

Wilford Kale
427 Hempstead Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Please mark nominations as Attn: Mason Nominee. A résumé and supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation from peers, may also be submitted.

Deadline for nominations is Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.

SPJ Virginia Pro named the award for Mason, Virginia’s “forgotten founding father,” because he risked lifelong friendships and personal fortune by insisting that the fledgling United States protect freedom of the press and the other civil liberties by enacting a Bill of Rights. He was born in Fairfax County in 1725, helped frame the Virginia Constitution and in 1776 wrote its Declaration of Rights, the first authoritative formulation of the doctrine of inalienable rights. Mason’s work influenced Thomas Jefferson in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

Questions about the award may be sent to virginiaprospj@gmail.com.

Published by SPJ Virginia Pro

SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.

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