SEJ's 2015 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award was presented to SEJ member Lana Straub during the 25th Annual Conference in Norman, Oklahoma, by SEJ president Jeff Burnside, during the Wednesday evening gala:
"Our Stolberg winner this year has been an absolute whirlwind of volunteer action since joining SEJ not so long ago. This member promotes SEJ far and wide, recruits new members, even pays their dues. Has never said no when asked to cover a task for SEJ, large or small, pulling together a conference session, helping out with the awards program, sharing news of opportunities to the listserv. But her signature contribution... Putting her passion for multimedia to work for SEJ recording and posting video of members talking about why they love this group, live streaming a session, running the conference App on Whova, organizing and Periscoping a road trip to this conference with a fellow member at her side.
"'I just want to try new things, let everybody know, don't be afraid to try new things,' she said just yesterday...
"Thank you Lana Straub, SEJ's 2015 Stolberg Award Winner, for fearless and selfless service to this community! Congratulations!"
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.