SPJ/ONA DePaul Named Region 5 Chapter of Year

SPJ/ONA DePaul was named the Region 5 campus chapter of the year for the third time in four years at the Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism conference Sept. 6 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The chapter was recognized for its innovative programming and events, membership recruitment and use of digital tools to further the organization's mission of supporting free speech. Region 5 covers universities and colleges in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Under the leadership of then-president Brianna Kelly, the chapter organized a national "Free Speech Wall" event on Constitution Day (Sept. 17) and presented the project at the national and regional conventions. The project gave citizens the chance to write anything they wanted on a blank posterboard "wall" to exercise free speech. The students then did data analysis to study trends with what people wrote.

The student journalists also trained high school students on social media tools at Payton Prep, organized a coding workshop with Andy Boyle of the Chicago Tribune and held a Women in Sports Journalism symposium during the spring quarter.

"This award reflects the continued excellence and hard work of our student executive board that organizes the events and makes the chapter grow," said SPJ/ONA DePaul adviser Mike Reilley.

SPJ/ONA DePaul also was one of 12 finalists for the national campus chapter of the year award for the third time in four years. DePaul won the national award in 2011 and 2013.

Learn more about SPJ/ONA DePaul at spjonadepaul.com or follow on Twitter at @spjonadepaul.