2023 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award Winner

Image of Christy George

The David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award recognizes an SEJ member for their exceptional volunteer work. Nominees may not be a board member or anyone who is paid by SEJ.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization. Member-volunteers organize tours and panels for the conference, implement the awards program, contribute to the SEJournal, serve as mentors and sit on any number of committees. This conference could not happen and SEJ could not be successful without our members lending their time and sweat in selfless service as volunteers. Here are ways to volunteer with SEJ.

This annual award honors exceptional volunteer work by an SEJ member. It was created by the SEJ board in 1998 and named in honor of one of SEJ's founders, David Stolberg.

The 2023 Stolberg award goes to Christy George, broadcast editor and reporter in Portland.

Christy dove headfirst into the SEJ community shortly after moving from Boston to Portland, Oregon, circa 1999,  to take a new radio reporting job at Oregon Public Broadcasting, or OPB.

She wasn’t in Portland long, before she was reporting and editing complex environmental stories and discovered SEJ, AND…  shortly after that, SEJ had discovered her and she agreed to Chair the 2001 SEJ Annual Conference, hosted by Portland State University.

Unbeknownst to all of us, 9/11 would occur just a month before the conference, which was the first and only time that SEJ hosted both the standing U.S. EPA Administrator and Interior Secretary in the same year. Caribou protested outside the building and a very heavy security detail patrolled inside and a great time was had by all.

Well, some 18 years of board service later, Christy was up for co-chairing another conference, this time in Boise, Idaho, and this time it was COVID that not only surprised us, but forced us to cancel our first conference ever in 2020.

So, again, three years and a virtual annual conference and a new co-chair later, she was still onboard as co-chair for what became our very successful Boise conference this year.

Christy has also been an SEJ mentor since 2005, including five different mentees.

Here’s just one quote from one of her mentees, John Ryan, now Environment Reporter for KUOW, public radio in Seattle.

"As my SEJ mentor, Christy George helped me learn both the craft and the business of radio journalism when I was a struggling freelancer trying to break into radio. I am forever grateful to Christy for helping me launch my public radio career!"

And, of course, John is now a five-time mentor himself. Can you feel the karma?

As an aside, Christy is also the longest-serving SEJ board member ever. Like other Stolberg winners and board members, she embodies the SEJ spirit of collaboration, always helping colleagues, always giving something back and clearly, that spirit becomes contagious. And, we know so many are worthy of this award, but still…

This one has been a long time coming...


This annual award honors exceptional volunteer work by an SEJ member. It was created by the SEJ board in 1998 and named in honor of SEJ founder David Stolberg. Nominees may not be a board member or anyone who is paid by SEJ.

Much of SEJ's best work is accomplished by member-volunteers: tour and panel organizers for the conference, awards program leaders, contributors to SEJournal, SEJ-talk and www.sej.org, freedom-of-information watchdogs, mentors, and leaders in diversity outreach. Volunteers define the heart and soul of SEJ, and they expand the group's reach and significance in ways that are not easily measured.

David Stolberg had a 38-year career with Scripps Howard that included duties for the Scripps Howard Foundation's annual Meeman Awards for excellence in environmental reporting. Stolberg always believed in "the value of networking, of the subliminal training that comes from an association with one's peers." In the 1980s, when Stolberg was assistant general editorial manager of Scripps Howard, he came up with the SEJ idea and kept suggesting it to Meeman winners until he found one who was willing to put in the volunteer time to organize with other journalists and make something happen. That person was SEJ's founding president, Jim Detjen.

Stolberg died May 24, 2011 at age 83.

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