Help Nominate 2022 George Mason Awardee

SPJVA accepting nominations for 2022 George Mason Award

The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter seeks nominations for its 56th George Mason Award, tentatively scheduled to be presented in early December 2022.

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 submitted by email  to virginiaprospj@gmail.com. The email should cite the nominee’s contributions to Virginia journalism and may include a résumé and supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation from peers.

Deadline for nominations is Sept. 30, 2022.

SPJ Virginia Pro named the award for Mason, Virginia’s “founding father,” for his role in forming the fledgling United States and in particular protecting 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.

The George Mason Award plaque quotes Mason’s words from the Virginia Declaration of Rights: “Freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotick governments.” The SPJ Pro chapter acknowledges that Mason was a flawed historical figure who denied basic human rights to people of African descent.

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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