Page Banner Background



A night of camaraderie and recognition at the 2016 SPJ Awards Gala


By Sara Lerner, SPJ Western WA Pro Chapter board member

Last night was beautiful. Getting about 160 journalists together to meet each other, recognize one another’s hard work, and raise money to support young journalists is a gorgeous thing. We were honored to see you all there.

We want to give a nod to just a couple of the many, many amazing moments of the night, some of which came from the short speeches from our Gala Award recipients.

Journalist of the Year Anna King described one encounter with an interviewee named Francisco, who couldn’t believe she wanted to record his cherry picking song from Michoacan and that anybody would want to listen to it on the radio. She lamented the large attrition of bright journalists she’s witnessed leaving their careers and said those of us who remain are doing important and needed work.

Anna King-Gala-Trujillo

Seattle Globalist’s News Editor, Venice Buhain, accepted the Globalist’s Innovation Award for their Community Media Workshops, which were built to address the lack of diversity in media. Buhain said she and so many of us journalists have been wringing our hands for decades, trying to figure out how to better tell the stories of communities of color. But whoops- that was essentially the wrong approach. The question isn’t how to write about the other, but to figure out how to support them and help them become fellow journalists, and that’s what the Globalist is doing, successfully.

Journalism Educator of the Year, Andrew Wahl, thanked Kermit the Frog for inspiring him to be a reporter, at age five. Now as the advisor of the Everett Community College student paper, The Clipper, he said he couldn’t be happier with his career choice, which now includes helping hundreds of students evolve into working journalists.

After hearing from all of our Gala Award winners, including our three New Journalists of the Year, our photography Passion Projects winner, in between lively stories from our emcees Austin Jenkins and Sonya Green, we moved on to the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest winners.


With more than 2,300 entrants and 150 categories, this annual Region 10 contest is the biggest of its kind. We posted the complete list of this year’s winners late last night. All who were present were honored. The contest is for the entire region, but was administered this year by us, the Western Washington chapter.

Our auction and raffle included Girl Scout cookies, bike tune-ups, yoga passes, wine wine wine, and so much more. Thanks again to our sponsors:

  • Ethan Stowell Restaurants
  • Starbucks
  • Be Luminous yoga
  • 8 Limbs Yoga
  • ​Dr. ​Sukhdev Singh, DMD
  • Electric Lady Bike Shop
  • Skip Rock Distillers of Snohomish
  • Sandstone Distillery
  • The Thirsty Hop
  • Domanico Cellars
  • Great Northwest Wine (Andy Perdue & Eric Degerman)
  • Girl Scouts of Western Washington
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • The Daily Herald
  • Seattle Times
  • University of Washington
  • Oren Campbell

Finally, we bid adieu last night to our fearless leader, Athima Chansanchai, outgoing SPJ Western Washington Pro Chapter President. Thanks, Tima, we’re grateful for your time and energy and commitment to the cause. People like you help make our papers, radio stories and televisions fuller of more talented and supported professionals.

Fun fact: today is her first day in 15 years not volunteering for a non-profit that supports journalism. It was SPJ for years, and AAJA before that. Dang..!


For those of you award winners who weren’t able to attend the gala, we’ll be mailing your certificates and trophies. ‘Til next year!



No Comments

Post A Comment