Green, Martin, Quiñones, Ward And Whitaker Honored As SPJ Fellows

The Society of Professional Journalists is recognizing Jerry Green, Roland Martin, John Quiñones, Clarissa Ward and Bill Whitaker as Fellows of the Society, the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ, for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.

“We at SPJ are honored to recognize five of the best journalists in the country who continue to seek the truth with courage and compassion,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar. “Jerry, John, Clarissa, Bill and Roland are true role models who inspire all journalists to find the untold stories and make a difference.”

The Fellows will be honored at SPJ’s annual convention, MediaFest22, Oct. 27-30 in Washington, D.C., with more details to come. Registration for MediaFest22 is now open. The fall issue of Quill Magazine will also focus on this year’s Fellows.

SPJ launched the Fellows of the Society program in 1948 and has named three or more Fellows every year since.

Jerry Green is an American sports journalist and author. He served as a U.S. Naval officer for three years before starting his career as a sportswriter for The Associated Press in 1956. Green worked as a staff writer for The Associated Press until 1963, when Detroit News hired him. During his career with Detroit News, Green was named Michigan’s Sportswriter of the Year 11 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Detroit Sports Media awarded him a Lifetime Member Award. He also published eight books, including: Detroit Lions, Year of the Tiger: The Dairy of Detroit’s World Champions and University of Michigan Football Vault: The History of the Wolverines.

Green worked for the Detroit News for nearly 41 years before retiring in 2004. He has covered all four professional sports teams throughout his career and continues to cover the Super Bowl for the Detroit News. He is one of only four sportswriters to cover every Super Bowl from Super Bowl I in 1967 through Super Bowl LVI in 2022. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 for his long and outstanding career as a sportswriter.


Roland Martin is the host and managing editor of #RolandMartinUnfiltered, a daily online show focused on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an explicitly African American perspective. He is the author of three books: Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.

Martin has received more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence, including being named Journalist of the Year in 2013 by the National Association of Black Journalists for his extensive focus on voter suppression and other issues of concern to African Americans during the 2012 election. He is a four-time NAACP Image Award winner, including being named best host for the last two years. He is the former executive editor/general manager of the Chicago Defender, the nation’s most historic Black newspaper. A digital media pioneer, Martin launched the first Black news source audio and video podcast in 2005 and 2006 at the Defender.

Martin said, “In his 1967 book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that ‘the Negro Press’ had too often ‘veered away from their traditional role as protest organs for social change, and have turned to the sensational and the conservative in place of the substantive and the militant.’ This perspective has been one that I have readily accepted my entire career. All too often we as journalists have been unwilling to challenge the status quo outside — and inside — of our industry. That must change, and we are positioned to be those change agents.”

John Quiñones is an ABC News correspondent who reports for 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America. He joined ABC News in June 1982 and during his 40-year tenure, has reported extensively for all programs and platforms and served as anchor of What Would You Do? and Primetime. Quiñones is a well-decorated journalist having received several awards, including a Radio Television Digital News Association John F. Hogan Award for national and international reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award for his “enduring contributions to journalism” by the E.W. School of Journalism at Ohio University; the Inspire: Visionary Leadership Award from the Anne Frank School in San Antonio for “What Would You Do?” scenarios that shined a light on antisemitism in the United States; and seven national Emmy Awards for his reporting

Quiñones received the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and most recently, he reported on Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, who was brutally murdered and sparked a #MeToo movement in the military. His exclusive interview with Ryan McCarthy, secretary of the Army, followed the U.S. military making major changes in how they handle sexual harassment cases, and Congress passed the “I Am Vanessa Guillen” bill.

“There is no real Democracy without Journalism,” Quiñones said. “It’s the candle in the darkness, especially for those who find themselves marginalized by society. As a journalist it’s vital to not only tell the stories of the ‘movers and shakers’ of the world, but also shine a light on the moved and the shaken.”

Clarissa Ward is CNN’s chief international correspondent, known for her in-depth investigations and high-profile assignments. She has spent nearly two decades reporting from the front lines in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Ukraine for ABC, CBS and Fox News. A recipient of multiple journalism recognitions, including nine Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards and two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia awards, Ward is the author of On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist, which details her singular career as a conflict reporter and how she has documented the violent remaking of the world from close range.

Ward and her team were the first foreign journalists permitted to enter Myanmar nearly two months after a military coup in 2021. She has since reported from Afghanistan in the weeks leading up to and after the fall of Kabul and most recently from Ukraine, where she has spent more than 10 weeks covering the ongoing Russian invasion.

“We live in a world where journalists face real threats, from the pernicious effects of misinformation to the dangers of discrimination, imprisonment and violence,” Ward said. “At the same time, there has never been a more important time to provide people with ethical, accurate reporting. SPJ has been championing excellence in journalism for decades, and I am so honored to be part of that legacy.”

Bill Whitaker, a correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes, began his broadcast journalism career at KQED-TV in San Francisco, where he worked as a producer, associate producer and researcher. He has covered major news stories domestically and across the globe for CBS News for over four decades. He is the 2018 winner of RTDNA’s highest honor, the Paul White Award for career achievement. His work has taken him to Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East.

Whitaker has investigated the vetting process Syrian refugees undergo before coming to the U.S., and he has interviewed the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect in decades. He has also worked to cover race and policing in America with his reports from Cleveland, Chicago, Tulsa and Oklahoma. Recently, Whitaker’s investigation into “ghost guns” highlighted the legal purchases of gun parts that criminals use to make deadly weapons while avoiding licenses and background checks.

Last year’s Fellows were Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and moderator of Washington Week; Maria Hinojosa, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in audio reporting for the podcast Suave; Clarence Page, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nationally syndicated columnist and member of the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board; and Barbara Walters, an influential, innovative, trustworthy figure in journalism.

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