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Only the proceeds from the entry fees paid directly to the Deadline Club Foundation, pay for scholarships--not the lion's share of the monies paid for dinner tickets. (Credit: Deadline Club, screenshot, highlight added).

Exclusive: Since January 17, iMediaEthics has tried, and failed, to get the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) New York chapter, The Deadline Club, to answer two simple questions about its annual contest, billed as “one of the city’s most prestigious journalism awards.”

  1. How many $70-a-pop award entries did it receive last year?
  2. How many members does the club have?

The Deadline Club’s president J. Alex Tarquinio’s answer? “We never release that [information].”

The Club’s Annual Awards Contest is open to New York (city) area media. The number of categories and the entry fee change year-to-year, but in 2012 journalists could compete for 32 awards, including for the Daniel Pearl Award for Investigative Journalism. Each entry this year costs $70, and applicants pay an entry fee for each category — so if you’d submitted the same story in three categories, you’d have to pony up $210. The money adds up quickly.

Tonight is the 2012 Annual Awards Dinner, once again at the famed Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue. See the Deadline Club’s photos from last year’s swanky, silky, crystal-chandeliered event.

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Tarquinio, who is a staff writer for SmartMoney magazine in addition to being Club president, said in a Feb. 22 phone interview that there are two organizations — a Deadline Club and a Deadline Club Foundation — that run the annual awards contest and dinner event. The “sole purpose of the Foundation is to give these scholarships,” she said.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS :      

  • iMediaEthics investigates Deadline Club, Deadline Club Foundation
  • Deadline Club Foundation delinquent in annual New York State tax filings (eight years) and IRS (two years)
  • New York State Attorney General requests Deadline Club Foundation’s missing filings
  • Deadline Club president filed 2006, 2007, 2008 delinquent IRS returns in 2010
  • Society of Professional Journalists president responds, launches “committee of three national SPJ leaders” to “review” finances of Deadline Club and Foundation
  • Only 14 students applied for scantly advertised 2011 scholarship contest
  • In 2011 the Foundation spent more than 70 cents on expenses for every dollar it took in

Note: The Deadline Club — not the Foundation — listed its Annual Awards Dinner as a charitable event on CharityHappenings.org in 2010. See screen shot below.

The Club lists its annual awards dinner as a charitable event, even though it’s not. Only the proceeds for the entry fees given to the Foundation are charitable contributions.

With 32 categories clearing $70 per entry, a successful contest should generate tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships. Yet, for many years the club awarded only a pair of $1,000 scholarships. Last year, that number increased to three scholarships at $2,000 apiece.

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Exclusive: SPJ New York Journalism Deadline Club failed to file IRS, NY State forms for many years

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