NJSPJ President John Ensslin shares two very good pieces of news!


First, Miriam Ascarelli, our immediate past president and the all-around heart and soul of this chapter – has been named the winner of this year’s SPJ’s Howard Dubin award for outstanding pro chapter member.

Those of us on the SPJ New Jersey board were thrilled to hear this. We all have been quietly lobbying the SPJ National Board on Miriam’s behalf since April. We’re glad they listened to us.

What they heard is what folks in New Jersey have known all along: that Miriam is an exceptional SPJ leader who skillfully led the chapter through some major challenges over the last two years. We talked about her dedication to SPJ’s mission and her compassion for others, including her students at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

This is a very distinguished award named after Howard Dubin, a true gentleman and one of SPJ’s elder statesmen.

Miriam won for outstanding member among large pro chapters. The winner for small chapters was none other than Hagit Limor, a former SPJ national president, for her recent work with the Cincinnati chapter.

So congratulations Miriam on the well-deserved honor.

Flemington landmark recognized

The other good news is this:

The SPJ national board of directors has agreed to add the Union Hotel in downtown Flemington to its registry of historic places in journalism.

The Union Hotel was headquarters for reporters and photographers from around the world who converged there in January 1935 to cover the Lindbergh kidnap-murder trial. Legendary columnist Damon Runyon was among the reporters who covered what was then considered “the trial of the century.”

You can read more about the hotel on this website of the Friends of Historic Flemington.

Last summer, the SPJ New Jersey board voted to designate the Union Hotel as one of the first two locations on the New Jersey list of historic places in journalism. The other landmark was the T. Thomas Fortune house in Red Bank, home to a pioneering African-American journalist.

Kudos to Regional Director Jane Primerano, who has advocated for the Union Hotel designation for several years.

This marks the first time that a New Jersey site has made the national registry since SPJ started the list in 1942. It’s an impressive collection of sites – with locations such as Ben Franklin’s first newspaper office and Edward R. Murrow’s old CBS studio.

Here’s a link to the entire list.

Flemington meeting, walking tour

At some point later this year, we’ll have a formal ceremony with the unveiling of the SPJ Historic Sites in Journalism plaque.

But meanwhile, if you’d like to see what prompted this honor, join us in Flemington for a walking tour on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The SPJ New Jersey board will hold its regular monthly meeting at 11 a.m. that day in the historic Doric House Museum at 114 Main Street, Flemington, next door to the Hunterdon County Historical Society Library.

Afterwards, a local historian will lead us on a walking tour of downtown and the hotel site. Then we’ll grab lunch at a local restaurant.

If you would like to come along for the meeting and/or the tour, let me know. I can be reached at johnensslin@gmail.com


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