AMES, Iowa — Michael Bugeja, director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, was one of four recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Newspaper Association at its 2017 Convention and Trade Show, held Feb. 1-3, 2017, at the Des Moines Marriott Hotel in Des Moines.
The award recognizes long-time journalists and professionals honored for their contributions to the newspaper profession and to their communities. Bugeja was honored for his “key role in preparing the next generation for a future in journalism.” Each year’s honorees are selected by past recipients of the awards.
The INA noted Bugeja’s leadership at the Greenlee School, citing the school’s record enrollment rate in a time of “unique challenges the last few years with the changing media landscape.” It also noted the 95 percent placement rate of Greenlee graduates within six months of graduation and Bugeja’s efforts, along with Greenlee faculty, to streamline the curriculum to help reduce student debt.
In remarks given at the Feb. 2 luncheon, Amy Duncan, past president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, recognized Bugeja’s efforts to ensure the school keeps pace with industry. “He has done more than foster the longest continuously accredited journalism program in the state. He has made the school a home base for students and alums—listening to an advisory council and staying ahead of the trends to meet the needs of publishers and other employers with the graduates.”
Professor Daniela Dimitrova, director of graduate education at the Greenlee School, praised Bugeja’s leadership. “Michael is most deserving of this award. He has led the Greenlee School to new heights in terms of quality journalism education with streamlined curriculum and high placement rates. For me, Michael exemplifies the quintessential journalism educator with his passion for journalism as a profession, dedication to students as future practitioners and belief in upholding high ethical standards in the Iowa newspaper industry and beyond.”
Also honored alongside Bugeja were Doug Melvold, of the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press; Deb Geisler, advertising manager for the Jefferson Herald; and Scott Sundstrom, vice president of government relations at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.