Southwestern College prof wins national SPJ Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award

The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded San Diego Pro Chapter member Max Branscomb, a professor at Southwestern College, the 2009 Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.

Branscomb, who was nominated for the award by the San Diego Pro Chapter and his students, began as an adjunct journalism instructor at Southwestern College, a community college in Chula Vista, Calif., in 1996. He moved to full-time instruction three years later and now serves as faculty advisor for The Southwestern College Sun, the school’s student newspaper.

Throughout his tenure, Branscomb has guided the newspaper to numerous state and national press awards, including a prestigious Associate Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award. His teaching and advising have personally earned him well deserved honors, including the College Media Advisers’ Distinguished Adviser of the Year award and the Chicano News Media Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Sun, under Branscomb’s leadership, also won 19 awards in SPJ’s 2009 San Diego Area Excellence in Journalism Contest.

This SPJ honor further recognizes Branscomb not only as an innovative student media adviser but also a devoted and tireless instructor dedicated to his students.

“Currently Max is the only full-time professor of journalism at Southwestern College,” wrote one of Branscomb’s students in a nomination letter. “His dedication to the journalism program cannot be measured through the many plaques that hang on the wall, but by the lives he changes. Max has invested his own money and time to help this program become what it is now.” 

SPJ’s Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education. Students, former students, alumni, colleagues and professionals may submit nominations. All journalism educators are eligible, regardless of SPJ membership. For more information on the nomination process and a list of previous honorees, visit

Branscomb will be recognized Friday, Aug. 28 during a luncheon at the 2009 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference  in Indianapolis.


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