The 2021 SPJ Headliners contest

SPJ Awards

Sponsored by the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, this statewide contest includes dozens of contest categories in reporting, photography, videography, design and other skills. Utah SPJ Honors recognize outstanding dedication to journalistic principles and service to journalism in the state. 

The entry period for most categories ended April 30, but we are still accepting nominations for our special awards to honor important contributions to Utah journalism. Even better, the nominations are FREE! Please peruse the categories below and submit your nominations by emailing a letter to by June 11.

Nominators can also speak briefly to the board about their nomination at our meeting held via Zoom on June 16. Winners for all categories will be announced this summer. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is uncertain whether our traditional awards event will take place. Please follow us for updates.

Special award categories:

Public Service Award: An article, a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional coverage that benefits the community. Nominations should describe the impact the work had on the community.

Don Baker Investigative Reporting Award: Honors the late Don Baker, a respected journalist who reported for the Standard-Examiner and Deseret News. Submit a single story, single-issue package or multi-issue series on any topic. Work must demonstrate exceptional investigative effort. Entry also may include a one-page synopsis of difficulties faced and overcome.

Josephine Zimmerman Pioneer in Journalism Award: This award is given to someone who broke ground in journalism for a particular group or in a particular area. This award is named for Josephine Zimmerman, a long-time political reporter at The Daily Herald in Provo.

Quintus C. Wilson Ethics Award: Honors Quintus C. Wilson, past chair of the University of Utah journalism department and founding member of Utah Headliners. Nominee’s work should demonstrate outstanding concern for journalism’s ethics or pursuit of ethics.

Roy B. Gibson Freedom of Information Award: Honors the late Roy B. Gibson, who was a pioneer in TV broadcasting, a University of Utah communications professor and an ardent First Amendment advocate. Nominee’s work should demonstrate outstanding efforts to raise awareness of and protect access to government records and meetings, expose abuses of freedom of information laws, or use those laws to produce significant public service reports.

Clifford P. Cheney Service to Journalism Award: Honors the late Cliff Cheney, who served as Utah Headliners president in 1978. This award honors an individual for an outstanding contribution to Utah’s journalism industry. Accomplishments could include work as an educator or academic, mentoring young journalists, advocating for the industry, or other like actions.

Lifetime Achievement Award: This award honors an individual for exceptional lifetime dedication to journalism. Selection is based on the nominee’s lifelong commitment to the profession and to the values of the Society of Professional Journalists including the tenacious pursuit of the truth; adherence to high ethical standards; service to the community as a watchdog; advocacy for freedom of information and a free press; and the inclusion of diversity in coverage and in the workplace.

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