SPJ NorCal honors Dean Geeta Anand with Distinguished Service to Journalism Award

November 16, 2023

Black and white photo of Geeta Anand wearing a black long sleeved shirt and hoop earrings smiling.

Geeta Anand. Photo by Christopher Michel.

The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ NorCal) today announced it is honoring Geeta Anand, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and California State Senator Steve Glazer with the Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.

The annual award honors contributions to the advancement or advocacy of journalism in Northern California.

The SPJ cited their efforts to pass legislation and secure funding for, and implementation of, the California Local News Fellowship. The California Local News Fellowship program is a multi-year, state-funded initiative to support and strengthen local news reporting in California, with a focus on underserved communities. Each year, the program places up to 40 early-career journalism fellows in newsrooms throughout the state for two-year, full-time reporting positions.

At a time of dwindling resources for California newsrooms, when “news deserts” are becoming far too common, Anand and Glazer have laid a foundation for supporting important coverage provided to California communities who need it, the announcement said.

“It is an honor to receive this award together with Senator Glazer and my colleagues at Berkeley Journalism,” Geeta Anand said. “All of us recognize that local journalism is fundamental to democracy. There could be no better use of the school’s expertise than investing our time in strengthening local news in the state of California. We are so lucky that Senator Glazer championed this mission and trusted us to bring this extraordinary program into reality.”

The board also honors Emeritus Professor Lydia Chavez of Mission Local with the Career Achievement Award in the print category. Chavez wrote for the Albuquerque Tribune and The New York Times before moving to San Francisco to start Mission Local. She launched the site as a Berkeley Journalism project in 2008 and shepherded it into independence in 2014.

The honorees of SPJ NorCal’s 38th Excellence in Journalism Awards will be recognized at the awards dinner on Thursday, Dec. 7 in San Francisco.

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Black and white portrait of Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand with short hair and hoop earrings, wearing a dark top. The background is blurred foliage.

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