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Last modified: Friday, May 31, 2013

SPJ honors IU student Michael Auslen with Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award

May 31, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Society of Professional Journalists has presented Indiana University student Michael Auslen of Arvada, Colo., with its Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award.

Michael Auslen

Michael Auslen

Print-Quality Photo

The award honors a student SPJ member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through the field of journalism.

During his time as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student, Auslen showed his commitment to educating fellow student journalists about the importance of First Amendment rights.

When he took the reins in January, his goal was to include more watchdog reporting in the student newspaper. Auslen established an investigations team, which wrote six stories during the semester, including a four-part series about ethnic diversity at IU. Through his efforts, many staffers gained interest in writing investigative stories, there was communication with university administration about the right to free press, and the team has carried on through the following semesters.

In addition to holding multiple beat reporting and editor positions at the IDS, Auslen has interned at Mile High Newspapers, the Loveland Reporter-Herald and Dow Jones Newswires. He has also served as an executive board member of IU's SPJ chapter. This summer, Auslen has an internship at USA Today on its investigations desk.

"We are delighted that SPJ is recognizing Michael's talent and determination," said Interim Journalism Dean Michael Evans. "He has been a tireless advocate of a free press throughout his time at IU, and it is quite fitting that this honor be added to the many others he has already received."

Auslen will be recognized in August at the Student Union held during the 2013 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Southern California.

He also is a Wells Scholar and holds a four-year scholarship for academic merit.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.