Ames, Iowa – Margaret “Margy” and the late L. Eugene “Gene” Chamberlin will receive the 2017 [James W. Schwartz Award]() from Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. The annual award recognizes distinguished service to journalism and mass communication.
In 2007, the Chamberlins established one of the Greenlee School’s signature programs, the Chamberlin Lecture series, to bring national perspectives in news and advertising to campus. Both Iowa State alumni, Gene (’54, agricultural journalism) and Margy (’55, general sciences) shared a passion for journalism education. After Gene died in 2009, the Chamberlin family continued to support the lecture series until its conclusion in fall 2016.
The Chamberlin Lecture has featured Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion page editor Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal; ABC’s “Nightline” anchor Juju Chang; Eugene Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post; Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune; Rick Green, former president and publisher of The Des Moines Register and Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean, among others.
With the conclusion of the lecture series, Margy continues to honor Gene’s legacy by sponsoring internship scholarships for Greenlee students who share his ambition of working in community journalism at a small weekly paper.
“Somehow I didn’t put myself in that group [of Schwartz Award winners], and it touched me so much to hear many supported us. How I wish Gene were here for this event. It is really more his story than mine, but after I married him, I realized journalism was my life too, and we enjoyed it so much,” Margy said.
In conjunction with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, the couple’s gift also brought a Chamberlin/INF Fellow to campus each year. The fellows, all leading Iowa reporters or editors, worked with students in Greenlee journalism classes.
“The engagement has been so beneficial to our school and its reputation,” said Michael Bugeja, Greenlee School director. “I will forever be grateful for the Chamberlins and their support. They are truly deserving of this award.”
The Chamberlin family roots are firmly planted in community journalism. As a high school student, Gene worked at the newspaper in his hometown of Mapleton, Iowa, and the experience inspired his life’s work. In 1964, Gene fulfilled his dream of owning his own newspaper at age 30, when he and Margy bought the Mobridge Tribune in South Dakota. They published the paper for 25 years.
The Tribune was truly a family business for the Chamberlins. When their children, Cathy and Steve, were young, Margy worked part-time at the newspaper, helping with the books and printing. Eventually, Cathy and Steve contributed as well, reporting and writing about community events with Gene’s direction.
After the Chamberlins moved to Brookings, S.D., in 1989, Gene continued to advise other publishers of community newspapers through his newspaper consulting business. He also taught a newspaper management course at South Dakota State University and was a member of the Journalism Accrediting Council. He received the National Newspaper Association Outstanding Service Award and was named to the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Margy will receive the Schwartz Award at the Greenlee School Advisory Council’s October meeting. Time and place will be announced closer to the event.
About the James W. Schwartz Award The James W. Schwartz Award is the highest honor conferred by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. It is awarded in honor of James Schwartz, department chair of the school from 1965-1977 and a 32-year member of the faculty. The Schwartz Award has been presented since 1978 to leaders in journalism and related fields. Previous honorees include four Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished broadcast journalists, authors, advertising and public relations executives, newspaper and magazine publishers and leading writers in a variety of specialty areas. The School’s advisory council and faculty nominate candidates and faculty members select the winner.
About the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University is the oldest journalism program in the state and one of the oldest in the country. The school celebrated 100 years of journalism education in 2005. The school prepares leaders in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations.