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David Weaver
IU School of Journalism

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Friday, April 13, 2007

Professors' research of American news media receives national SPJ award

April 13, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A book resulting from an extensive study of U.S. journalists by faculty in the Indiana University School of Journalism was honored yesterday (April 12) by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The book, The American Journalist in the 21st Century (Erlbaum, 2006), received a 2006 Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism. David Weaver, the Roy W. Howard Professor in the IU School of Journalism, is the book's lead author. The text is based on the third comprehensive survey of American journalists he has done with colleagues at IU, particularly G. Cleveland Wilhoit, who retired in 2003.

SPJ cited The American Journalist as the best journalism research work of 2006. The June/July issue of the Quill, SPJ's magazine, will excerpt material from all the winners and will offer descriptions of how the projects evolved. The Indiana chapter will present its award for best non-fiction book at an April 27 ceremony in Indianapolis.

Weaver and Wilhoit's work in this area spans three decades. In 1982, 1992 and 2002, they and collaborators surveyed thousands of journalists, gathering demographic information, as well as opinions and reflections on their work and organizations. Other current and former School of Journalism professors who have worked on the project over the years include former professors Randy Beam and Paul Voakes, and current Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bonnie Brownlee. Over the years, numerous graduate students also have assisted in gathering the data.

The honor is the second national award involving someone at the IU School of Journalism in less than a week.

Gerry Lanosga, a first-year doctoral student, learned last Friday (April 6) that the WTHR-13 investigative team he worked with to produce "Cause for Alarm," an investigation of the failure of tornado siren warning systems, was one of 35 national winners in the 66th annual George Foster Peabody Awards. "Cause for Alarm" also received a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award.