2013 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award Winner

SEJ President Don Hopey congratulates the winner of SEJ's 2013 Stolberg (volunteer) Award, Jane Braxton Little, at SEJ' s 23rd Annual Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, October 2013. © Photo by Roberto [Bear] Guerra.

SEJ's 2013 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award was presented to long-time SEJ member Jane Braxton Little during the 23rd Annual Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by SEJ president Don Hopey:

"Every year, the Society of Environmental Journalists honors one exceptional member volunteer with the David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award, established in 1998 and named in honor of SEJ founder David Stolberg.

"Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Society of Environmental Journalists, organizing conference tours and panels, implementing the Awards program, writing for SEJournal, serving as mentors, and working on task forces. Without these selfless volunteers, SEJ would be so much less than it is today. We thank them all, but today we honor one in particular.

"This year’s winner got a record number of nominations, from both staff and fellow members. Nominators described our winner as — 'someone who embodies the SEJ spirit of cooperation among journalists,' someone who 'cares very much about helping the next generation of journalists make it out there.' Another nominator wrote 'I was fairly new to SEJ at the time we met, and her warmth in our phone conversations immediately made me feel like I had a place in the organization. She encouraged me to attend my first conference, in New Orleans, and over the years since then, I've watched her extend the same kind of friendship and support to countless members. I consider her a keystone within the freelance contingent and SEJ as a whole.' With this sort of thing as her general M.O. it makes perfect sense that our 2013 Stolberg Award winner has made perhaps her biggest contribution as co-leader of the mentor program, helping something like 60 pairs of mentors and mentees find each other and work together.

"The winner of SEJ’s 2013 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award is Jane Braxton Little!"

This annual award honors exceptional volunteer work by an SEJ member. It was created by the SEJ board in 1998 and named in honor of SEJ founder David Stolberg.

Much of SEJ's best work is accomplished by member-volunteers: tour and panel organizers for the conference, awards program leaders, contributors to SEJournal, SEJ-talk and www.sej.org, freedom-of-information watchdogs, mentors, and leaders in diversity outreach. Volunteers define the heart and soul of SEJ, and they expand the group's reach and significance in ways that are not easily measured.

David Stolberg had a 38-year career with Scripps Howard that included duties for the Scripps Howard Foundation's annual Meeman Awards for excellence in environmental reporting. Stolberg always believed in "the value of networking, of the subliminal training that comes from an association with one's peers." In the 1980s, when Stolberg was assistant general editorial manager of Scripps Howard, he came up with the SEJ idea and kept suggesting it to Meeman winners until he found one who was willing to put in the volunteer time to organize with other journalists and make something happen. That person was SEJ's founding president, Jim Detjen.

Stolberg died May 24, 2011 at age 83.