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For immediate release

July 26, 2018

SPJ Detroit rescinds Lessenberry’s Lifetime Achievement Award

DETROIT – The Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists today rescinded the
Lifetime Achievement Award of Jack Lessenberry.

The SPJ Detroit board of directors voted Thursday to annul the 2017 award in the wake of reports of
misconduct by Lessenberry. According to an independent investigation, the former Wayne State
University professor and Detroit journalist acted unethically and abused his position.

Perhaps most troubling were the findings that much of his lewd behavior involved student
journalists who put their trust in the well-known veteran reporter as a mentor.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor our chapter bestows upon an individual.
Lessenberry’s actions were shameful and unprofessional,” said Michael Wayland, SPJ Detroit chapter
president. “On behalf of the board, our thoughts are with all those who Lessenberry mistreated or put
in compromising situations throughout his career.”

The SPJ Detroit board of directors has monitored the situation closely and, weeks ago, decided to
wait for the Wayne State University-initiated investigation to conclude before taking official action.
Lessenberry was informed of the board’s decision to rescind the award on Thursday, July 26.

SPJ Detroit awards Lifetime Achievement Awards at its annual Excellence in Journalism banquet
each spring.

For more about SPJ Detroit, please visit


Media Contact:
Dan Stocking, SPJ Detroit board member
(248) 203-8979