Don’t miss the Beth Macy award ceremony

Beth Macy, the former Roanoke Times journalist who has written Dopesick and other best-sellers, will receive the SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter’s highest honor — the George Mason Award — at a ceremony on April 9 in Roanoke. You can attend the presentation in person or online.

A reception for Macy, followed by the award ceremony, will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, at the O. Winston Link & History Museum of Western Virginia, 101 Shenandoah Ave. NE, Roanoke.

The ceremony is being held in conjunction with the SPJ Region 2 Spring Conference. You can register for the conference and/or for the award presentation on EventBrite. (In other words, you don’t have to register for the conference in order to attend the event honoring Macy.)

Ticket prices are:

  • Conference registration (in person) — $45
  • Conference registration (attend via Zoom) — $10
  • Reception and award ceremony for Beth Macy (in person) — $25
  • Award presentation for Beth Macy (via Zoom) — $10

The conference is being held at the Holiday Inn Roanoke – Valley View, 3315 Ordway Drive Northwest, Roanoke. It includes a reception on the evening of Friday, April 8, followed by a full day of panel discussions and speakers on podcasting, freelancing, news startups, technology and other topics. Here is the conference schedule with a list of speakers.

The conference program will end at 5:15 p.m., so attendees will have adequate time to go from the hotel to the O. Winston Link & History Museum (about a 10-minute drive) for the event honoring Macy. The reception will run from 6 to 6:30 p.m., and then the George Mason Award ceremony will begin. As part of the ceremony, Macy will be interviewed by former Roanoke Times colleague Ralph Berrier Jr. The event will end around 7:30 p.m.

Macy, who has won acclaim for chronicling stories of life in the Blue Ridge mountains, will receive the 2021 George Mason Award for outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism. The award presentation had been delayed until this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Beth is one of those journalists who digs into a story, and once she digs in, keeps on digging until she gets to the center of the issue at hand,” Brian Kelley, editor of The Roanoke Times, said in a letter supporting Macy’s nomination for the award.

“Beth’s special gifts are empathy and an ability to connect with people of all types.”

Macy was a reporter for The Roanoke Times from 1989 to 2014. In recent years, she has applied her talents to writing books that made The New York Times Best Sellers list for non-fiction and won awards from the Columbia Journalism School, the Library of Virginia and other groups.

Her 2018 book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, was adapted for television last fall by the Hulu streaming service. Macy was a writer and executive producer on the award-winning eight-part series.

In August, Little, Brown and Co. plans to publish Macy’s follow-up book, titled Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis. One of Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022, it tells “the story of the everyday heroes fighting to stem the tide of drug overdose in communities that are too often left to fend for themselves, and of the activists and relatives of the dead who are still struggling for accountability in America’s courts.”

For more information about the award presentation, or to make arrangements to buy a ticket at the door before the ceremony at the museum, email

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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