The Press Club of Long Island, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, has won SPJ’s top honor — Large Professional Chapter of the Year — “in recognition of outstanding programs and activities that enhance professionalism, thereby contributing service to the society and the profession.”
It is the second time in the last four years that PCLI has earned the honor. The last time was in 2016.
“It’s such an amazing honor to receive national recognition for the work we do to protect and preserve journalism,” PCLI President Scott Brinton said. “It’s a testament to the hard work and commitment of our board of directors.”
In addition to Brinton, PCLI board members include Keith Herbert, vice president; Bill Bleyer, treasurer; Diana DeRosa, secretary; Chris Vaccaro, immediate past president; and Carl Corry, David North and Brendan O’Reilly. Jamie Lynn Ryan, who was on the board in 2018-19, retired from her post in July after several years of service to the club.
PCLI received the honor during SPJ’s Excellence in Journalism convention in San Antonio, Texas, from Sept. 5-7. Brinton accepted the award on behalf of the club.
SPJ chapters must submit annual reports of their work, as well as all financial statements to the national SPJ organization. Regional directors and coordinators then judge those reports to decide on Chapter of the Year winners.
This year, PCLI shared the accolade with the Florida and Chicago SPJ chapters.
In evaluating PCLI’s work, judges wrote, “The Press Club of Long Island explored the public’s perception of news media and issued statements supporting journalism, including showing support for the five employees killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis. It took an unusual approach to raising money for the Committee to Protect Journalists — a poetry reading at the birthplace of journalist-poet Walt Whitman.
“PCLI reached the public through screenings of a series of journalism films and with a Freedom of Information forum that included school district administrators and police officers.
“Its connection to college and high school students remained strong, largely through summer journalism institutes, one of which focused on low-income communities.”