This grant grew out of veteran Texas journalist (and former SPJ Fort Worth president) Gayle Reaves-King’s desire to help news media professionals take advantage of continuing-education opportunities, since many news organizations no longer pay for such training. Fort Worth SPJ’s Board of Directors named the award for Reaves-King to honor her service to the chapter and the profession.
An oft-honored reporter and editor at papers in Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, she has been the Fort Worth Weekly editor since 2001. Before that, her reporting took her from little Texas towns to Europe, South America and Asia, on topics from terrorism to natural disasters to corporate corruption. She created the first women’s issues beat at The Dallas Morning News and is a past president of the national Journalism and Women Symposium.
Reaves-King was a member of The Dallas Morning News team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1994 for a series of 14 stories that examined culturally sanctioned violence against women in many nations.
Reaves-King and two colleagues also shared the 1990 George Polk Award for courageous regional reporting for a News series on South Texas drug wars.
Eligibility and Requirements
Who is eligible?
Professionals in Texas and Oklahoma who have earned most of their income as journalists — reporter, editor or photographer; broadcast, print or online — for at least five years. The years do not have to be consecutive, nor do applicants have to be currently employed by a news organization.
How may the grant be used?
For up to $500 in expenses for skills-related training offered by any recognized journalism group or educational organization. The grant must be used within one year of the award date.
What should be submitted?
A résumé, two samples of published or broadcast work for a professional news organization, a recommendation letter from a supervisor (current or past), and the completed entry form. As explained on the entry form, the specific object of the training must be described — that is “improving my website skills” rather than just “attending an SPJ national conference.” If the applicant has a specific project, job, or assignment in mind, that information should also be provided.
What are the judging criteria?
Judges will evaluate ability, financial need and the journalistic value of the skill sought and/or the use to which the knowledge will be put.
What are the financial arrangements?
Fees or tuition may be paid directly to the organization offering the training, or the grant winner may pay such fees in advance and submit the receipts for reimbursement by SPJ Fort Worth. Additionally, expenses for travel or course materials are eligible for reimbursement. Expenses for alcoholic beverages or entertainment are not eligible for reimbursement. The total of fees and expenses paid or reimbursed by SPJ may not exceed $500.
When is the deadline?
There is no across-the-board deadline. The board will consider applications throughout the year and make grant decisions based on applications received and funds available. Application and other documents should be submitted four to six weeks before the date of the training event.
Are there other requirements?
After the training, the recipient agrees to “pay it forward” by sharing the new skills with other journalists in north Texas via an SPJ Fort Worth program, newsletter article or other means acceptable to the SPJ Fort Worth board.