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SPJ Wash announces 2018 award and scholarship winners

The Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington chapter on Wednesday announced the honorees of the 2018 SPJ Wash awards, which recognize the work of journalists across the state, and the student recipients of $15,000 in scholarships and grants. All recipients will be honored during the end-of-the-year awards party on June 21.


Jim Brunner and Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times reporters

“Jim Brunner’s work during the last year has informed readers on some of the biggest political stories in our state and helped to uncover the sexual abuse scandal that led to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s resignation. Brunner, a Seattle Times stalwart who has earned a reputation for fairness and high ethical standards, shines for his consistent, compelling reporting that informs our community and leads to positive change. He did so again last year by providing prolific coverage of emerging personalities and pressing political issues, highlighted by his important reporting on the scandal that toppled Seattle’s mayor.”

“Lewis Kamb’s journalism has changed our region for the better, casting a spotlight on forgotten scandals and unknown cover-ups; giving marginalized people a voice; and holding the powerful accountable. In turn, Kamb’s stories have had lasting impact, changing the course of public opinion, politics and history for Seattle, King County and Washington state.”


Scott North, former news editor of The Daily Herald of Everett

Scott North left The Daily Herald this year after more than 30 years. Here’s some of what North’s former colleagues wrote about him:

“Scott had a way of making a page spring alive with facts, color and the truth. I also learned that he had boundless energy, patience and would doggedly pursue information important to the story he was telling. After all, his job was to provide clear and useful information to the public. And he took his job seriously.”

“‘I’d like to play on this.’ When Scott spoke those words, I knew my run-of-the-mill daily would soon be transformed into a much more special front-page read. Scott could discover the meat of a story buried in a mound of public records or revealed in a database better than anyone I’ve worked alongside.”

“Thinking about Scott, two things come to mind: his tenacity and his love for journalism. Scott was an absolute shark with a story, particularly when there was blood in the water. I remember working with him on articles on problems with Community Transit management and he absolutely would not let up to the point where just the sight of him made the director’s face turn purple with anger.”


Hayat Norimine, Seattle Met associate editor

“Hayat, as our new politics reporter, broke story after story about the topsy-turvy odyssey of municipal rule. … Then there’s her fearlessness, her willingness to ‘go there’ even when the story means plumbing her own life to help explain a regional phenomenon. … In the year that I have worked with her, I’ve been consistently impressed by Hayat’s resourcefulness and enterprising attention to detail. She no doubt has a great career ahead of her.”

Michael-Shawn Dugar, Seahawks reporter for The Athletic and former Seahawks reporter

“It was into that fraught environment that MichaelShawn was able to bring his unique, insightful coverage of the (Seahawks). Whether it’s through writing stories on Michael Bennett’s efforts to connect with the community or taking on the NFL’s new anthem policy with a timely, courageous column; co-hosting his immensely enjoyable ‘Man 2 Man Podcast,’ or displaying wisdom and grace beyond his years in interviews with outlets like KUOW, we’re all better for having his voice participating in these conversations.”


Rachel La Corte, The Associated Press correspondent

“Rachel was the reporter whose relentless digging revealed that — contrary to what many legislative reporters believed – Washington lawmakers never in fact formally exempted themselves from the state’s Public Records Act. She compiled much of the research that was later used by a media coalition to file a lawsuit against the Legislature accusing its members of illegally withholding records. Without Rachel, the lawsuit never would have happened.  She ensured that the Associated Press became the lead plaintiff in the suit, and also was key in organizing other newspapers and media organizations to participate. She also rounded up many of journalists’ denied records requests for inclusion as evidence in the lawsuit.”

The Spectator staff

“Student journalists, under the leadership of editor-in-chief Nicholas Turner, stood up to powerful people when a professor removed newspapers from their stands in reaction to a front-page photo of a student performing in a drag show. … In response, The Spectator staff will be working with Academic Assembly, the faculty government association, to create a policy at Seattle University that would establish first amendment safeguards similar to public colleges and universities.”


Sonora Jha, Seattle University professor of journalism

“Jha, a renowned author and feminist scholar, is a mentor and inspirational leader for students and journalists at Seattle University. She serves as the faculty adviser to The Spectator student newspaper. … Jha stood by her students when challenged by powerful people who took issue with several stories throughout the year.”


SPJ Wash awarded $15,000 in scholarships and grants to students across the state.

  • University of Washington student Iman Mohamed received a $3,500 scholarship and a $1,500 grant to help support her while she interns at Real Change this summer.
  • Everett Community College student Nataya Foss received a $1,500 grant to help support her while she interns at The Daily Herald of Everett this summer.
  • Western Washington University student Rahwa Hailemariam received a $5,000 scholarship.
  • Western Washington University student Zoe Deal received a $3,500 scholarship.
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