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The Sacramento Press Club’s 2015 Journalism Scholarships

Since 1974, the Sacramento Press Club has offered scholarships to students who are preparing for a journalism career. In 2014, we awarded seven scholarships totaling $34,000. If you would like to make a donation to the SPC Scholarship Fund, please click on the red Donate box on this page.

2015 Journalism Scholarships

The Sacramento Press Club works hard throughout the year not only to create events that our members can enjoy – but also to raise the funds that support our scholarship program. Each year, the May lunch is our favorite – because that’s when we get to give away all of that hard-earned money to support the next generation of journalists.

Our scholarship program began in 1974 with a single $1,000 scholarship in honor of Earl “Squire” Behrens. Today, we offer seven scholarships worth $34,000. In the past 40 years, we have given away more than $300,000 – a significant amount of assistance that has helped many young students on their way to successful journalism careers.

About our 2015 Scholarships:

$8,000 in honor of the late Earl “Squire” Behrens, a former political editor of the San Francisco Chronicle who covered the state Capitol for a half-century. His “Political Notes” column was considered groundbreaking.

$6,000 in honor of the late Jean Stephens, the long-time Secretary-Treasurer of the Sacramento Press Club and a retired Sacramento City College journalism instructor who helped thousands of journalism students become professional journalists over a 30-year career.

$4,000 in honor of Dan Walters, political columnist for the Sacramento Bee who has worked as a journalist for more than a half-century. He has written more than 7,500 columns about California and its politics and his column now appears in more than 50 California newspapers. In addition to writing and contributing to political books, he serves as a frequent guest on national television news shows. Dan has generously supported the Sacramento Press Club scholarship program and helped many students realize their dreams of becoming reporters.

$4,000 in honor of Joan Lunden, a former nationally renowned TV morning show host. Lunden was born in Fair Oaks, attended Sacramento State University and began her career at KCRA in Sacramento. She gained fame as the host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades and today is a frequent public speaker, as well as the mother of seven children.

$4,000 in honor of Bob Fairbanks, a reporter and editor in Sacramento for more than 50 years, including at UPI and the Los Angeles Times. He was editor of the California Journal, taught journalism at Sacramento State University for five years and founded the Capitol Morning Report with help from his daughter, an email publication that continues today under the direction of his son. A former president of the Sacramento Press Club, Fairbanks has been an active member of the club for decades.

$4,000 in honor of the late Jerry Gillam, a 35-year veteran of the Capitol press corps. He is remembered for his knowledgeable political reporting in the Los Angeles Times’ Sacramento bureau, his friendly mentoring of new Capitol reporters and his larger-than-life sense of humor. Gillam started covering government for the Copley News Service, and for much of his Capitol career, he covered the California State Assembly including the Legislature’s transition to a full-time body.

$4,000 for the Nereida Skelton Journalism Scholarship. Nereida was a beloved journalism teacher for more than four decades. She was the advisor to the McClatchy High School student newspaper, where she often worked long hours and served as a mentor to outstanding students. Her straightforward approach to news and politics also had influence across the nation, as her husband George called her his “secret editor” for his L.A. Times political column. Community college students who are transferring to a four-year college will be given special consideration.

1.  Applicants must be college students who will be juniors, seniors or graduate students for at least one term in the 2015/16 academic year. 
2.  Applicants must also have a connection to the Sacramento region. There are three ways to meet this criteria. Applicants only need to meet ONE of the following categories in order to qualify: 
a. Students from the Sacramento region 
b. Students enrolled in a Sacramento region college or university
c. Students who can show a demonstrated interest in covering news of the Sacramento region. This can include clips documenting your coverage of state political news or any issue that you believe ties into the region. Please explain in your cover letter.

A packet that includes the following. Please use paper clips instead of staples, as we will be making numerous photocopies of your application for the panel of judges if you are chosen as a finalist.

1. A brief (one or two pages) letter explaining how you will pursue a journalism career and why. We would like to know what you have already done to prepare for your career, any related experience outside the classroom, and your motivation for a career in journalism. The letter should also explain the financial need for the scholarship and how you meet the eligibility requirements, including how you qualify as connecting to the Sacramento region. 

2.  Your current transcript documenting the classes you have taken and your grades. This can be either a computer printout or an official transcript.  

3.  Five samples of your work. This can be submitted in one of the following ways:

a. Hard copy of work. This must fit on 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheets of paper, with no overlaps, for ease of photocopying so each scholarship judge can have a copy. Please do not submit two-sided photocopies, as this makes it very difficult and expensive to duplicate.

b. Link to an online site where your work resides. This can be an online publication, a personal website or a content-sharing site (YouTube, etc.) where your work is posted. We must be able to identify the five samples you want us to look at.

c. Because of the difficulty of making adequate copies, we ask you NOT to submit CDs or DVDs of material, unless you can provide one dozen copies so that they can be provided to each scholarship judge.

4.  Your email address and a phone number where we can reach you on short notice and during normal business hours. 

5.  A letter of recommendation from a teacher, academic advisor or supervisor. This can be sent separately by the person or included in your packet in a sealed envelope.

6.  If a different school will be attended in 2015-16, documentation showing your acceptance (transferring community college students and students moving on to graduate school).  If your acceptance is still pending as of the March 31 deadline, we can work with you on verification.

Journalistic achievement to date, career promise, academic record, and economic need. 


Entries must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2015. There is no need to send your application by certified mail, or Fed Ex, or some other expensive delivery service. When we receive your application, we will send you a confirming email. If you are concerned because you have not heard from us, you may email us at or call us at 916-234-3876.


Finalists will be chosen from the pool of applicants. Interviews with the finalists will be scheduled for late April with a panel of judges selected by the Sacramento Press Club. We can conduct interviews with finalists via speakerphone if you do not currently reside in the Sacramento region. Winners will be determined and notified immediately following the interviews.

Scholarships will be awarded in May, and it’s our hope (but not required) that the recipients will join us as our guests at our monthly Sacramento Press Club lunch in May. 


SPC Scholarship Program
Kathleen Beasley
1000 Sagamore Way
Sacramento, CA 95822
Questions? Contact us at or call us at 916-234-3876.

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