Excellence in Journalism: Journalist of the Year & Young Journalist of the Year finalists, & Lifetime Achievement Honorees

The Society of Professional Journalists – Detroit Chapter (SPJ Detroit) today announced finalists for its 2022 Journalist of the Year and Young Journalist of the Year honors, and its annual Lifetime Achievement Awards, all to be presented at the chapter’s Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony and banquet on Monday, May 15, at the San Marino Club, located at 1685 E. Big Beaver Rd. in Troy, Michigan.

Finalists for Journalist of the Year are:

Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press
Beth LeBlanc & Craig Mauger, The Detroit News
Christine MacDonald, Detroit Free Press

Finalists for Young Journalist of the Year are:

Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press
Breana Noble, The Detroit News
Briana Rice, Michigan Radio

SPJ Detroit will also present nearly 300 first, second and third place award winners, along with honorable mention awards, at the May event. These awards recognize metro Detroit’s best journalists and their work during 2022, selected by a panel of veteran journalists from media organizations outside of Michigan.

In addition, two of metro Detroit’s most respected journalists have been selected by the SPJ Detroit board of directors to receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Dave LewAllen

Dave LewAllen is the anchor of 7 Action News on the evening newscasts on WXYZ-TV. He joined Channel 7 in 1988 as a sports reporter and made the permanent switch to news in 2004 after serving as weekend sports anchor for years. In 2012, Dave was named a Silver Circle recipient from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Michigan for his service and achievements over 25 years in the broadcast industry. He is a four-time Emmy winner, most recently for WXYZ-TV’s live coverage of the “Detroit Firestorm” of 2010. Prior to joining WXYZ-TV, Dave worked at WJBK-TV in Southfield and WJIM-TV (now WLNS-TV) in Lansing. He has had experience in radio, covering sports for WJR-AM and CKLW-AM in Detroit. Dave was also the radio play-by-play voice of University of Detroit basketball for several seasons.

Julie Topping

Julie Topping started her career in Sandusky, a small resort town in Ohio and served as a reporter there for three years. Her boss sometimes asked her to help edit obituaries, and she realized she loved editing much more than reporting. As a result, she decided to become a copy editor after attending what was then the Editing Program for Minority Journalists. From there she landed at the Greensboro Daily News for a year before being hired by the Detroit Free Press as a copy editor. She spent most of her career in Detroit in various editing roles, including becoming one of three managing editors at the Free Press. She also spent three years at the Charlotte Observer as copy desk chief. She retired from the Free Press in 2015 and became a story editor at Chalkbeat, working on what she liked best: shaping stories with reporters to bring readers the information they need to make informed decisions about educating their children.

As part of the evening’s festivities, SPJ Detroit will award two $2,500 Larry Laurain scholarships. SPJ Detroit scholarships are given annually to college students with an expressed interest in journalism.

In a longstanding tradition, the emcees for the event will again be Kim Heron and Jerome Vaugh.

Discounted tickets can be purchased in advance of the banquet through Friday, May 5. Tickets purchased after May 5 may be available at an increased price. Funds raised will benefit SPJ Detroit’s scholarship fund.

Scroll to Top