FIU’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter won the National Campus Program of the Year award Friday for a program on diversity and media bias at the organization’s annual conference in Baltimore.

The award recognized the program “Stirring UP the Media,” held last November which focused on how one’s background impacts how news is both written and read.

According to Professor Dan Evans, the FIU-SPJ faculty adviser, the program was inspired by the different backgrounds and perspectives of students at FIU. He said that by understanding how one’s race, education, sexual orientation and affluence, among others, affect their stories, reporters can be sensitive to how others’ backgrounds will color how those sources and readers understand their work.

FIU-SPJ was also named the Outstanding Campus Chapter for Region 3 — which includes Florida, Georgia and South Carolina — and was a finalist for the national honors in that category.

SPJ is a national organization, established in 1909, that advocates for journalistic education, press rights and ethical behavior. FIU-SPJ allows students to participate in journalistic events and networking opportunities. Also, it provides access to scholarships.

“I hope this prize will spark people’s desire to become involved,” Evans said. “The more students we have involved in the club, the bigger the events we can put on and the more we can do for the community and for the students themselves.”

He said he particularly wanted to thank Ingrid Gamero, the chapter’s president during the 2017-18 academic year, and Jaylin Hawkins for their work on the program. Both are recent graduates.

“Journalism is one of those professions where you have to keep learning long after leaving school,” said Evans. “Taking part in SPJ sends a signal that you continue to take interest in your career, and in enhancing and developing your own education and knowledge.”

For those interested in getting involved with FIU’s SPJ chapter, please contact Dan Evans at