Announcing the inaugural DPAA honorees

The DP Alumni Association is proud to announce the inaugural members of the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Hall of Fame: Jean Chatzky ’86, Bob Frost ’60, Eric Jacobs ’80, Lee Levine ’76 and Michael Silver ’75. They will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame on October 19, 2019 during the DP’s 135th anniversary celebration. In addition, Ashley Parker ’05 will be honored as the first recipient of the DPAA Young Alumni Award.

The DPAA established the DP Hall of Fame to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and/or in service to the DP. More than 40 worthy individuals were nominated by DP alumni, creating a challenging selection process for the DPAA Board. For its inaugural honorees, the Board selected Jean, Bob, Eric, Lee and Michael because they exemplified both service to the DP and professional accomplishment.

The DPAA created the Young Alumni award to honor alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years and have distinguished themselves professionally and/or through service to the DP. The DPAA Board here again faced a difficult choice among many well-qualified candidates. Ashley, who last year became a Pulitzer Prize winner, was the Board’s top choice to be the first recipient of this award.

Below are brief profiles of this year’s five award winners:

Bob Frost ’60 is one of the most highly devoted alumni in service of the DP and DPAA. He served on the DPAA Board for three-year terms at four different times between 1992 and 2017, and was DPAA president from 2004-2006. He created the DPAA’s Page One Award to recognize the importance that quality news reporting and writing has on a newspaper’s image and reputation. The award, recognizing the best news story of the year, has been issued annually since 2003. Bob was a reporter and City Editor at the DP, and after graduation became a New York Times reporter. He later changed careers and became an investment manager and consultant, creating and running several companies, as well as working for UBS in later years. 

Jean Chatzky ’86 was one of the inaugural alumni members to serve on the DP Board of Directors when it was created in 2013. She created the January DP Bootcamp designed to improve the readiness of new editors and reporters at the start of each student Board term. At the DP, Jean was a Features Editor. She was a business reporter for Working Woman magazine, went to cooking school, worked as a researcher on Wall Street, and returned to journalism as a fact-checker at Forbes. Jean became a reporter for SmartMoney, which led to her being tapped to be the financial editor on the NBC Today Show (a position she still holds 24 years later) and a writer at Money magazine. She has appeared on Oprah, The View, Live with Regis and Kelly; has written for Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, AARP and Parents magazines, has authored numerous books on personal finance, and is a frequent public speaker. Three years ago, Jean created HerMoney, a digital media company focused on personal finance specifically for women.

Michael Silver ’75 was the first president of the DPAA when it was formed in 1984. He returned to the DPAA Board for a second time 20 years later, and then was one of the inaugural alumni members to serve on the DP Board of Directors. Mike was a reporter and Managing Editor at the DP who began his professional career as a Florida newspaper reporter and then television producer. After getting his MBA at Stanford in 1985, he worked in a variety of positions as a strategist and key operational manager for Tribune Company, then one of America’s largest media companies. Mike championed the company’s pre-IPO investment in AOL (a $10 million bet that ultimately became valued at $1 billion) and directed editorial, analytical and technical operations supporting newspaper and TV station web sites across the country. Mike’s work in championing digital publishing on an industrywide basis earned him the New Media Pioneer award from the Newspaper Association of America.

Lee Levine ’76 served on the DPAA Board shortly after its formation, but his major contribution to the DP was serving as its legal counsel for more than two decades. He educated generations of DP editors and reporters about libel and first amendment law, and helped the DP out of every threatened legal action and lawsuit it faced — with an undefeated record! At the DP, Lee was a reporter, Managing Editor and then 34th Street Editor during the magazine’s early years. After graduating Yale Law School in 1979, he began his legal career working on media law cases, and became one of the most respected media law attorneys in the country. He argued several cases before the US Supreme Court, as well as courts in more than 20 states, most federal courts of appeal, and 10 state supreme courts. Lee has represented most of the major newspapers, magazines and broadcast networks over the past 30 years. A legal publication which ranks lawyers around the country described Lee as “the greatest First Amendment attorney in the United States,” while another publication describes him as “the dean of First Amendment Law.” 

Eric Jacobs ’80 has been unable to find a job since shortly after his undergraduate years at Penn — because he has held one at the DP continuously for what will total a remarkable 40 years when he retires in summer 2020. As a student, Eric was a DP news reporter, City Editor and Co-Managing Editor. Combining his academics in computer science with his passion for the newspapers, he led a group of students planning the DP’s ahead-of-its-time first computer system — and got the DP to hire him for a short-term job in 1980 overseeing the computer installation and integration. That short stint as Office Manager blossomed into being hired to be the DP’s first General Manager in 1981. In the four decades that followed, he’s been an advisor to student leaders, an architect of office renovations, a driver of sales growth, a finance and budget guru, an IT technician, a national expert on college student media, a builder of the DP Alumni Association, and wearer of too many more hats to mention.

Ashley Parker ’05 is a White House Reporter at The Washington Post. She was a member of the Post team which, along with the New York Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2018 for coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and its connections to the Trump campaign and administration. At the DP, Ashley was an Assignments Editor and 34th Street Features Editor. Upon graduation, she worked as a research assistant to influential columnist Maureen Dowd at The New York Times, and advanced to become a political reporter for the Times in Washington, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress. After 11 years at the Times, she moved to the Post in 2017.

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