Awards, Serenades Aplenty At 2009 SPJ Hall Of Fame Dinner

Last night at the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists DC Chapter inducted its 2009 honorees into the Hall of Fame. WaPo‘s Courtland Milloy was also presented the SPJ Distinguished Service Award (introduced by colleague Eugene Robinson). Hall of Famers included PBS’ Gwen Ifill, CBS’ Bob Schieffer, US News & World Report‘s Kenneth Walsh and BNA’s Toby McIntosh.

NPR’s Michele Norris was on hand to introduce Ifill- she pointed out a few things we may not necessarily know about the moderator of PBS’ “Washington Week,” including her fondness of James Brown.

That disclosure prompted something quite special- Schieffer’s band Honky Tonk Confidential was lined up to perform at the end of the awards presentation. Their playlist included regulars like “TV Anchorman” and “He’s in the White House Now,” but they surprised the crowd- Ifill, especially- with a encore of Brown’s “I Feel Good.”

On a more serious note, in his acceptance speech earlier in the evening, Schieffer asked the audience to remember the American reporters held in North Korea. “Remember what journalism is all about. The part we play in democracy is as necessary as the right to vote and a noble thing when done right. Going where the story is is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is the courage of the individual reporter that makes journalism what it is today,” he said.

A complete list of the awards given out last night can be found on SPJ’s website here.

Schieffer and band serenade Ifill with some James Brown tunes.

More photos after the jump…