NJ Journalism Impact Awards to be presented at Byrne Kean Dinner

Jerry Izenberg and Loretta Weinberg to be recognized; reporting on quiet rooms in NJ schools and Superfund sites also honored

Jerry Izenberg, sports reporter for The Star-Ledger since 1962, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in New Jersey Journalism at the second annual Byrne Kean Dinner on Thursday evening, October 6th, benefitting the nonprofit Corporation for New Jersey Local Media (CNJLM).

CNJLM will also present the New Jersey Journalism Impact Award for state reporting to Kelly Heyboer of NJ Advance Media for her reporting on “quiet rooms,” school isolation spaces, in NJ schools. The New Jersey Journalism Impact Award for local reporting will be presented to Jordan Gass-Pooré and her team for her PBS/NJ Spotlight News project Hazard NJ, a series about Superfund sites in NJ as told by communities that live in or around them, including the Ironbound community in Newark and the Ramapough Munsee Lenape Nation.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement and New Jersey Journalism Impact Awards, the Byrne Kean Dinner will recognize former State Senator Loretta Weinberg with the inaugural Loretta Weinberg Award, which honors non-journalists who have made a significant impact on New Jersey journalism during their careers. The award bears her name in recognition of her more than 30 years serving New Jersey in Trenton, during which she showed an unwavering commitment to government transparency and accountability, and played a pivotal role in the fight to keep New Jersey journalism accessible and accountable.

Tickets for the second annual Byrne Kean Dinner on October 6 event at the Short Hills Hilton in Short Hills are available through CNJLM’s website at www.NewsWeNeed.org. Sponsorships and digital advertising opportunities are also available.

“It is important to recognize the critical role that quality professional journalism plays in creating an informed citizenry and fostering civic engagement in a democratic society,” said Amanda Richardson, the executive director of CNJLM. “These awards not only highlight the best work of individual journalists, but also the importance of preserving and expanding news reporting at both the state and local level.”

Jerry Izenberg began his long career in newspapers as a copy boy for The Star Ledger in 1951. “This is a lifetime award to a man who seems to have had several lifetimes,” said Linda Stamato, the CNJLM vice chair and Senior Policy Fellow at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, who served on the awards panel that chose Izenberg for the honor. “His sports writing provides a glimpse into a world that few capture with the force and eloquence with which he lets readers into the lives of the human beings on, and off, the field.”

“Born in 1930, he is still going strong in 2022,” she continued. “His career at the Star Ledger, started in 1951 when he was a student, was interrupted for several years while he served in the Korean War. Returning to the Ledger, he became more than a fixture; he became THE VOICE for sports coverage. The author of many books, even in retirement, he still writes when the spirit—and the requests—prompt him to write again.”

Kim Pearson, a professor at The College of New Jersey, who teaches journalism and served on the awards committee, said, “At a time when far too few people understand what journalism is and what real journalist do, the excellence and impact of the work being celebrated here is a reminder of how important our profession is to our lives as individuals and as members of communities.”

“It is my profound hope,” Pearson continued, “that this recognition will encourage greater public attention and understanding of journalism, especially at the local level, and that it will encourage others to persist in getting at and getting out the information that we need to sustain ourselves, our communities, and our democratic life.”

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Corporation for New Jersey Local Media builds strong communities through local journalism and civic engagement. The organization seeks to enhance civic engagement by promoting professional community journalism, fostering public discussion of critical issues, and expanding access to educational programs. Learn more at www.newsweneed.org.

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