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NABJ Honors Stewart With 2013 Community Award

Birmingham DJ turned education advocate advances causes

Advocacy group the National Association of Black Journalists has named Dr. Shelley Stewart as the recipient of the association’s 2013 Community Service Award. Stewart is a broadcast journalist, president and CEO of O2Ideas, as well as the founder of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.

He will be recognized this summer at NABJ’s 38th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Orlando, Fla., during the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala on Saturday, Aug. 3. The gala acknowledges journalists who cover the black experience and/or address issues affecting the black community.

Stewart spent the early part of his career as a broadcast journalist. During the 1960s, as DJ named Shelley the Playboy, he broadcast coded messages to listeners in Birmingham, Ala. about civil rights protests, meetings and other events.

Stewart went on to purchase a radio station and co-found marketing and advertising firm O2Ideas.

Stewart also created the documentary “InsideOuT,” which was launched simultaneously in 2007 with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, a result of Stewart’s prison visits with his late brother who served a life sentence without possibility of parole. The 26-minute documentary reveals the stories of the inmates, in addition to drawing conclusions about the effects of dropping out of school.

“Students who go through the program say they didn’t realize how harsh life is in prison and how the odds of going there dramatically increase without an education,” said NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. “NABJ is proud to salute Dr. Stewart for using his platform to reduce the dropout rate, increase the graduation rate and give hope and a sense of purpose to our children.”