The Society of Professional Journalists named three of journalism's most distinguished individuals as SPJ Fellows at the Society's national convention, Sept. 21, in Washington, D.C. The 1996 fellows are Herb Caen, columnist at The San Francisco Chronicle; Jay T. Harris, chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News; and William W. Headline, CNN vice president.
Through the SPJ Fellows program, the Society honors up to three individuals each year for lifelong contributions to the journalism profession. Nominations are submitted by the Society's board of directors and local chapter officers. Selections are made by a committee of SPJ past national presidents.
Caen is an author and columnist at the Chronicle. He began his career in 1932 at The Sacramento Union and moved to the Chronicle in 1936 as a radio correspondent. When the Chronicle stopped assisting the radio news medium in 1938, Caen tried his hand at local interest columns where he has been ever since. The author of a dozen books, he won a Pulitzer Prize this year for "extraordinary and continuing contribution as a voice and a conscience of his city." A devoted reader once commented, "One word in Herb Caen's column is worth 10,000 pictures!"
Harris began his journalism career in 1970 at the Wilmington (Delaware) News-Journal where he worked as an urban affairs reporter, an investigative reporter and special projects editor. Harris also worked as a national correspondent and columnist for the Gannett News Service covering issues involving race, social justice and politics. He has served on the faculty of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Harris took over as publisher of the Mercury News in 1994. His priority with the paper has been broadening and deepening the newspaper's service to an increasingly diverse community.
Headline joined CNN in 1983 where his responsibilities include special events, special projects and network pool assignments. For more than 12 years, he supervised CNN's Washington bureau. As Chairman of the Network Pool, Headline was instrumental in setting up the television component of the DOD media pool that provided the first coverage of U.S. support in Saudi Arabia following Iraq's attack on Kuwait in August 1990. In his 22 years in Washington, Headline has organized coverage of Watergate, political conventions, papal visits, space shots, presidential inaugurations and Whitewater.