Each year, the Dubin award is given to no more than two members – one from a chapter of 75 or more members and one from a chapter of 75 or less members. The award is named in honor of Howard Dubin, a longtime member of SPJ’s Headline Club in Chicago. Dubin not only contributes time and money to the Society, but also remains dedicated at the chapter level and as Treasurer of the SPJ Foundation Board of Directors.
Lail is a board member of the East Tennessee Pro Chapter. A retired journalist, he was formerly was the digital manager at WATE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Knoxville, and was previously the digital director for over two decades at the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Lail joined SPJ in 1984 after arriving in Tennessee and served as chapter president during the 1990s. He also served on a national technology committee and was later its president.
Passionate about professional development training opportunities for journalists, Lail organized sessions for SPJ national conventions. Outside of SPJ, he conducted professional opportunities for the American Press Institute and the Poynter Institute, as well as internal training for Gannett, the E.W. Scripps Company and the Journal Media Group. He was also a board member of the Associated Press Media Editors and organized sessions for their annual conference.
Lail has been a financial supporter of the SPJ Foundation and Legal Defense Fund and the East Tennessee Pro Chapter’s Front Page Foundation, and was a member of SPJ’s President’s Club for several years.
Lail is to serve as president of the East Tennessee Pro Chapter during the 2023-2024 year.
“Jack exemplifies Howard Dubin in one strong and important way: He has been a long-time member, served as president of his local chapter, chaired a national committee, helped organize sessions at national conventions and is now back as a very active grassroots member and officer of the local chapter,” wrote Jean Ash, Maria Cornelius and Georgiana Vines, current board members of the East Tennessee Pro Chapter, in their letter nominating Lail. “The East Tennessee Pro Chapter feels that Jack is the ‘glue’ that holds its members together with his ability to keep the website current, organize social media announcements and handle all aspects of the Golden Press Cards awards program that recognizes outstanding journalism throughout East Tennessee. He does it with calmness and professionalism in the face of any obstacles that come up.”
Lail will be honored during the President’s Installation Banquet at MediaFest22 in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29.