By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
NEWARK (SBN) — SBN News Director Steve Lubetkin, a top producer of audio, video and live web events, was named to receive the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
The award is given to regular members of an SPJ chapter who go above and beyond in serving their chapter.
Lubetkin and Ruth Nasrullah of the SPJ Chicago Headline Club each received the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award for contributions to their SPJ chapters and regions.
Each year, this award is given to no more than two members — one from a chapter of 75 or more members and one from a chapter of less than 75 members. The award is in honor of Howard Dubin, longtime member of SPJ’s Chicago Headline Club. Dubin not only contributes time and money to the Society, but also remains dedicated to service at the chapter level and as treasurer of the SPJ Foundation Board of Directors.
As a regular member of the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists, Lubetkin helped the NJ-SPJ establish a more robust web presence, and he helped implement NJ-SPJ’s Press Identification Card program, among other endeavors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Needless to say, I’m humbled and honored to be recognized so soon after joining the board,” Lubetkin said. “I’m glad that the chapter feels I’m making a significant contribution to keeping things working, and I’m doing something I love doing for a profession that really gave me my start so many years ago.”
Lubetkin served as a regular NJ-SPJ ally before becoming a board member last summer.
Each year, the national SPJ selects outstanding local members for the Howard S. Dubin award. The accolade is named after Howard Dubin, chairman of Manufacturers’ News Inc. and a longtime grassroots member of SPJ’s largest chapter, the Chicago Headline Club.
SPJ announced Lubetkin’s honor August 24. The national SPJ originally planned to host a hybrid journalism conference in New Orleans next month, and that’s where the organization would have formally presented Lubetkin with the Outstanding Pro Member Award in person.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, prompted SPJ to change gears. The 2021 Journalism Conference from Sept. 2 through Sept. 4 is now scheduled as a fully virtual affair. The final event of the conference, the President’s Awards Ceremony, is listed as the special occasion where SPJ will “honor those in the journalism community who have gone above and beyond.”
Lubetkin is among the journalists to be saluted.
Among his many contributions to NJ-SPJ, Lubetkin helped transform the chapter’s website, www.njspj.org, into a more user-friendly experience that can better accommodate local members.
Lubetkin also helped NJ-SPJ establish its NJ Press ID Card program, and he provided technical expertise to advise reporters and municipalities on how governing bodies could host online public meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic without abandoning the Open Public Meetings Act and the Open Public Records Act.
An expert in video recording and editing, Lubetkin helped document the 2021 NJ-SPJ outdoor awards gala at Harvest Moon Brewery & Café in New Brunswick on July 28.
NJ-SPJ congratulates Lubetkin on his national award and thanks him for his outstanding service. He currently serves as the NJ-SPJ secretary and is responsible for maintaining the state chapter’s membership rolls and recording meeting minutes, among other tasks.
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman is a seasoned journalist who has reported on issues ranging from corrupt politicians to police accountability. He frequently freelances and formerly worked at The Trentonian and Philadelphia Inquirer as a full-time staff writer. He’s the recipient of more than 10 journalism awards and currently serves as a New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists board member. An advocate of the First Amendment, Abdur-Rahman is one of the few press representatives who has participated in the Protests and Policing Working Group formed by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal to address critical issues of safety, freedom of the press and freedom of speech during demonstrations and social justice rallies.”