Sue Porter, vice president, programs at Scripps Howard Foundation, received the Society of Professional Journalists highest honor, the Wells Memorial Key award. She received the award during the Presidents Installation Gala.
The gala also serves as an awards ceremony for distinguished journalists, but the Wells Memorial Key is always given out last. Recipient names are kept secret until it’s time to present the pin, and Porter said she was surprised.
“It’s incredibly humbling to win an award like this, after you’ve sat through an evening like this,” Porter said. “All the people who’ve been on stage before this, all the stories you’ve heard, aren’t they amazing? Don’t they make you proud? This is for everyone who recognizes that.”
The Wells Memorial Key was first awarded in 1913 and is given annually to a member for outstanding service to the Society during the preceding year or over a period of years, according to a news release about the award.
Porter has served in various positions, including the president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors and was the editor of Quill, SPJ’s magazine.
During her time as president of SDX, collaborators said Porter was an inspiration to others.
“A lot of women look to someone like her as a role model,” said Robert Leger, current board president of SDX. “She’s just so willing to give of herself.”
Leger also said that Porter helped foundation members learn new skills about raising money for their projects.
“She was invaluable about helping us learn about fundraising and just the relationships that lead up to successful fundraising,” he said. “I can’t just go right up to you and say, ‘Can you give me some money?’ It’s rude for one thing. But she was really good in helping our staff learn the ins and outs of the right ways of going about that.”
Porter joined the E.W. Scripps faculty almost 40 years ago, working as a reporter, editor, and producer. She recently announced that she’ll be retiring.