SPJ/LA Board Member Receives National Recognition

Navid Nonahal, immediate past president of the Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, has been selected to receive SPJ’s Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award for her outstanding contributions to the local chapter.

The award, given every year to two SPJ members, is named in honor of Howard Dubin, longtime member of SPJ’s Chicago Headline Club.

Described as a driving force behind the Los Angeles chapter, Nonahal has been on the SPJ/LA Board of Directors since 2010. Besides serving three consecutive terms as chapter president, she has had pivotal roles in chapter events, membership drives, insurance research, financial stewardship and more. As immediate past president, she continues to lend her institutional knowledge, unique expertise and optimistic voice to the chapter’s work.

As a freelance journalist, Nonahal has contributed to Tehran International Weekly Magazine, reporting on international and national news pertaining to Iran. At the magazine, Nonahal maintained a weekly column titled “Dear President Ahmadinejad,” which addressed pressing events in Iran and the then-president’s ensuing positions and policies. Nonahal graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Two SPJ members are selected each year for the Dubin award – one from a chapter of 75 or more members and one from a chapter with less than 75 members. Nonahal was selected as the larger chapter honoree. Jennifer Ellis of the Arkansas Pro Chapter was named in the small chapter category. They will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2018 conference in Baltimore, Sept. 27 to 29.

Nonahal was nominated by board members Roberta Wax, former Dubin Award honoree, and the late Dr. Richard Hendrickson.

“If there is a job to be done, a crisis to be fixed, or a hand to be held, Navid will do it, and do it with grace and charm,” Wax said in her nomination letter. “While good at delegating and motivating, Navid will also get her hands dirty doing the work others might shirk, whether grabbing a hand truck and moving file boxes into our new offices or staffing a ticket table at an event, leaving others free to mingle and celebrate.”

Nonahal said she is “honored and humbled” to be receiving the award.

“I joined SPJ because I believe in, and am inspired by, its mission to support the First Amendment and promote accuracy and credibility within today’s ever-changing world of journalism,” she said. “Being of Iranian heritage, I am uniquely aware of the vital role a free press plays in a just society, and how much our individual freedom suffers in its absence. Being a part of SPJ and serving on the board of SPJ/LA has given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to foster that role by promoting ethical journalism and a healthy and vibrant free press.

“In addition, SPJ has given me life-long friendships and introduced me to a group of people whom I call my second family. For that, I am forever grateful.”

The Los Angeles chapter has had four other Dubin award winners: Dan Bolton; Wax, a freelance writer; Claudia Peschiutta, a reporter at KNX 1070 Newsradio; and Lauren Bartlett, a former three-time L.A. chapter board president and current SPJ Director At-Large.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

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