In 1966, 13 men — Bob Eddy, Herbert Brucker, William J. Clew, D. Barry Connelly, Dorman E. Cardell, Russell G. D’Oench, Norman Fenichel, Frank Hepler, Carl E. Lindstrom, Robert M. Lucas, Arland R. Meade, Laurence A. Silver and Sidney P. Steward — formed the Connecticut Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists – Sigma Delta Chi. National SPJ granted their charter on Feb. 3, 1966.
This year, CTSPJ celebrates 50 years of working toward improving and protecting journalism in the state.
Over the last 50 years, the Connecticut chapter of SPJ has hosted hundreds of professional development workshops to help journalists in the state network and further their careers. Through the Bob Eddy Scholarship Foundation, the board has distributed more than $140,000 in scholarships to Connecticut students since 1981.
Each year, the board hosts an Excellence in Journalism contest, which gets between 800 and 1,000 entries each year, in order to recognize the work of journalists across the state. The contest winners are honored at an awards banquet in May, the largest gathering of journalists in the state each year.
The contest raises money for the board operations, including thousands of dollars in donations given to journalism causes. For example, in 2016, the board donated $500 to help host the Connecticut FOI day, donated another $500 toward CCFOI and CFOG, supported the SPJ Legal Defense Fund and Region 1 Fund with $500 each, and helped Connecticut student chapters pay for programming and conference attendance. Additionally, the chapter donated $750 toward the Bob Eddy Scholarship Fund in 2016.
Over the last 50 years, CTSPJ has hosted and handful regional conferences, including one this past April at Southern Connecticut State University. This year’s conference attracted 200 journalists from across New England and the tri-state area.
Come celebrate the 50th anniversary at this year’s Excellence in Journalism Awards Dinner on May 26 at Seasons at the Tradition in Wallingford.