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SPJWash Gala Honors

The SPJ Western Washington chapter board votes each year to award up to five different honors to local journalists and news outlets. These awards recognize excellence in practice in Western Washington journalism. Anyone can nominate a journalist, educator, or outlet for these honors by emailing with a letter supporting the nominee’s qualifications before the deadline of May 15 at 11:59 p.m.

June Anderson Almquist Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism

This award will go to a local journalist who has made an impact both externally (with the public) and internally. Any journalist can win this award — from a copy editor or page designer to an editor or producer to a writer or photographer to a single person running an online site. This person has demonstrated their excellence in the nominating year. In the late 1960s, the SPJ Western Washington Chapter established the “Courage in Journalism” and “Service to Journalism” awards to honor organizations and individuals for special contributions toward the betterment of journalism within Washington state. They were later combined into one under the moniker of the “Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.” The board renamed the award the “June Anderson Almquist Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism,” following the trailblazing Seattle Times journalist’s death in 2000. This award was combined to recognize the journalist of the year in 2017. 

New Journalist of the Year Award

This award will go to an outstanding journalist who has only been full time at a news organization for three years or less. It’s not easy being the “newbie” and sometimes you don’t get the most glorious assignments. This award is to honor those new journalists who take on tasks, no matter what they are, with enthusiasm and determination, and who make an impact on our community and our industry in their roles at a news organization or on their own.

Susan Hutchison Bosch Award

Susan Hutchison Bosch, an environmental affairs reporter for the Seattle P-I, contracted lymphoma at the age of 18 while a student at the University of Washington and died of Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 25 in 1971. Bosch “personified intellectual honesty, deep understanding of people and their problems, abiding fairness, grace, perseverance and quiet courage,” according to the board that established this award in her honor. “Though afflicted with Hodgkin’s disease, she rejected despair and chose to live a fully committed life.” The award is presented only when the recipient is judged uniquely qualified and his or her work reflects the qualities Bosch defined in life.

Innovation Award

This award will go to a journalist or staff of journalists who have innovated in the service of their audience in a powerful way. The nominator must describe a specific innovation made during the course of the award year and explain how the innovation broke new ground and made an impact. Any journalist or staff of journalists in any medium can win this award, including writers, photographers, broadcasters, producers, editors, managers and designers.

Journalism Educator of the Year

This award will go to a teacher or professor who has made an exceptional contribution to journalism education and standards of the profession. Any level of journalism educator can win this award, including high school and college. The nominator must describe why this outstanding teacher has made a difference. 

*The SPJ Western Washington board reserves the right to vote on and award these honors at its discretion, based on application materials. There may be a situation when an award is not named in a given year. All awards are announced at the SPJ Western Washington celebration party in June.