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Weber State alumna wins national mentorship award

Weber State University’s Sheree Josephson, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor, has been honored with a Clifford P. Cheney Service to Journalism Award for Mentorship in the field of journalism.

Sheree Josephson
Sheree Josephson pictured speaking to the audience during the Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor Ceremony in April of 2018. Photo credit: Weber State University

This award honors the late Clifford P. Cheney, who was the Society of Professional Journalism Headliners President in 1978.

Cheney was a highly influential voice for journalism, a mentor to many, and worked with students as well as daily newspapers including The Standard-Examiner.

According to an email, which was sent out to all those who will be honored with these Clifford P. Cheney Awards, “This award honors an individual for an outstanding contribution to Utah’s journalism industry. Accomplishments could include work as an educator or academic, mentoring young journalists, advocating for the industry or other like actions.”

Josephson first met Cheney when he was an adjunct professor. Josephson had taken many classes from the late Cheney, and also worked with him at two different daily newspapers.

“That makes the award really personal because I considered him my personal mentor,” said Josephson.

Josephson was the founding advisor to Weber State University’s Society of Professional Journalism chapter and served as the advisor for WSU’s The Signpost for several years.

Josephson worked as a journalist for 18 years before coming to Weber State University when she was hired on as a journalism professor.

Sheree Josephson's office is located in the Elizabeth Hall building's third floor.
Sheree Josephson's office is located on Elizabeth Hall's third floor. Photo credit: Isabella Torres

This award came as quite a shock and was extremely meaningful to Josephson because of how close Josephson was to the late Cheney, not only academically but professionally as well.

Eric Peterson, the current Headliner’s President of The Board of the Utah’s SPJ chapter, explained the award that SPJ granted Josephson is not only about the standard of excellence in the field of journalism each year, but also about the standard of excellence in mentorship, which they wanted to highlight with this particular award appointed to Josephson.

While there are many different opinions about journalism these days with social media and the distrust between Americans and the traditional news outlets, journalism is still something that will provide much-needed voices to the people by its very nature.

“In the process of selecting our honors recipients, someone will submit a nomination letter, then they have vigorous debate, which can last hours,” Peterson said.

With this year’s nomination of the Mentorship honors, The Headliner’s Association actually held two different meetings about who would receive the honors before they were able to come to any conclusions, one of which was that this particular honor for mentorship should go to Josephson.

Peterson continued to speak about the difficulties and the importance of journalism today, and how important it is to have mentors to lead the next generation of journalists into the professional realm of journalism work.

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