Guild members rack up the awards

Bob Egelko with Excellence in Journalism Award from NLGJA. Photo courtesy Bob Egelko 2013.
Bob Egelko with Excellence in Journalism Award from NLGJA. Photo courtesy Bob Egelko 2013.

Guild brother Egelko gets award for coverage of LGBT battles

By Richard Knee
Freelance unit member
October 19, 2013

Guild brother Bob Egelko, who covers the courts for the San Francisco Chronicle, has received an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Northern California chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his reporting on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender legal fights, especially court battles regarding the state constitutional amendment (Proposition 8) banning same-sex marriage.

Egelko has earned accolades from the American Bar Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter, as well, not only for the breadth and depth of his work but also for his ability to explain complex legal issues to a lay readership – something that’s not always easy for someone long immersed in the world of law. He has a law degree, passed the state bar and has been covering the courts since 1970.

Recalling U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s overturn of Proposition 8, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s scrapping the Defense of Marriage Act, Egelko told attendees at the NorCal NLGJA awards event that it was “not my place as a Chronicle reporter to say whether this is a good or a bad thing. … But I think I can say something about how we got here. It wasn’t just because of judges or elected officials, but first of all it was ordinary people speaking up for themselves, and getting together to ask this country to live up to its values. And it’s people like you – like us – who’ve gotten to tell their story. For that privilege and for this honor, I am deeply grateful.”

Also vivid in his memory, he said, was the state Supreme Court’s May 15, 2008, decision throwing out laws banning same-sex marriage. “I remember reading Chief Justice (Ronald) George’s opinion, 121 pages, and with half my mind, I was doing what we always do: trying to absorb it, understand the reasoning, think about the context, pick the right quotes for the story. But with the other half of my mind, I remember thinking, history is being made here, and I get to be present and tell other people about it.”

Egelko expressed gratitude for support from the Chronicle, from his wife, Ann Forfreedom, and from the journalists of the LGBT community.

The newspaper’s coverage of the LGBT community and its issues, “since long before I joined the Chronicle in 2000, has been inclusive and respectful. And they’ve been supportive of everything I’ve tried to do,” he said. Forfreedom has been “my inspiration in everything,” and the NLGJA’s award “feels to me like a kind of outreach, a statement that we’re all in this together,” he said.


Unsung hero award to freelancer Rebecca Rosen Lum
by Carl Hall
October 29, 2013

Rebecca Rosen Lum, Freelance unit chair.  Photo by staff 2013.
Rebecca Rosen Lum, Freelance unit chair. Photo by staff 2013.

Rebecca Rosen Lum, tireless advocate of freelance journalists, has been named this year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero Award by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

We’ve been singing her praises for a long time, of course, as one of our hardest-working organizers. She serves as chair of Guild Freelancers Unit and has been a key leader of our Bay News Rising summer program for journalism students. She started organizing for us in 2007, when she emerged as one of the first supporters of our “One Big BANG – One Guild Universe” drive at the Bay Area News Group-East Bay.

Rebecca wound up losing her job as a religion writer at the Contra Costa Times in the aftermath of our East Bay victory. But she never lost her commitment to fighting for better terms on behalf of her peers, students and freelancers around the country. Thanks to a grant from the Berger-Marks Foundation, we were able to keep Rebecca working on one project after another – and all of them truly made a difference.

Here’s from the SPJ announcement issued Monday:

“Veteran reporter and editor Rebecca Rosen Lum of the Pacific Media Workers Guild receives the Unsung Hero Award for her work promoting journalistic career development for professionals and students, and advocating for fair wages and benefits for freelancers.”

This honor is richly deserved. We congratulate Rebecca and her family, and I know all of us will join me in thanking her for all the work she has done to earn this recognition.

I also want to congratulate all the other SPJ winners, and in particular the Guild members who have been honored, including: Nhat Meyer, Jane Tyska, Dai Sugano, Lisa Krieger, Seth Rosenfeld, Stephanie Lee and Nanette Asimov.

We will be well-represented at the SPJ Awards Dinner, to be held in San Francisco the evening of Nov. 19. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of this evening or would like to help make a contribution on behalf of our Local in support of SPJ’s outstanding programs.


The Newspaper Guild’s Freedom Fund awards     

Karen de Sá has been a Guild member since 1999.
Karen de Sá has been a Guild member since 1999.

By Staff
November 4, 2013

The Newspaper Guild’s annual Freedom Fund awards, recognizing outstanding professional and student journalists, were presented at a luncheon Thursday at CWA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Karen de Sá of the San Jose Mercury News, Guild member since 1999, won a Special Honorable Mention for her series, “Loss of Trust.”

“In probing the darker corners of probate court in Silicon Valley, de Sá found court-appointed conservators charged exorbitant fees to the mentally disabled and elderly they were meant to serve. Within weeks of her initial stories, the court started working on new guidelines to curb the abuse,” the judges said, praising the enormous effort she put in to the series.

We join the judges in honoring de Sá and congratulate her for this special recognition.




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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer

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