The Society of Professional Journalists Northern California announced Monday that it is honoring Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal, who recently retired as executive director of The Center for Investigative Reporting, with its Career Achievement Award.

As part of its 2017 Excellence in Journalism Awards, the board of SPJ NorCal praised Rosenthal for helping lead a “remarkable expansion and transformation” of The Center for Investigative Reporting, which is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative journalism organization. The center’s investigations appear on its website, podcast and public radio show, “Reveal,” which is heard on 445 stations around the country.

Rosenthal began his career at The New York Times where he played a role in the Pentagon Papers, which he recently recounted on an episode of “Reveal.” He then worked at the Boston Globe before joining the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he became managing editor in 1998. He came West to join the San Francisco Chronicle as managing editor in 2002.

His many accolades over the years have included being a Pulitzer Prize finalist for international reporting. Rosenthal also served as executive editor of the Chauncey Bailey Project, managing reporters from more than 30 news outlets to investigate the journalist’s murder.

Robert J. Rosenthal

“This recognition of my career is humbling but also a reminder to me of all the extraordinary and talented journalists I have worked with for many years,” Rosenthal said. “Whatever success I have had was because of their work and in some cases their support and trust in me.

“The work of journalists has never been more relevant and crucial to our democracy. We all need to keep moving forward with fortitude, honor and focus. I certainly intend to do that and will continue to help others succeed.”

Rosenthal has moved on to the CIR’s board of directors and continues to work on numerous special projects there and elsewhere.

“Rosey has been a guiding light for many generations of journalists at CIR,” said Amy Pyle, CIR’s editor in chief. “We are thrilled to continue to partner with him through his work on our board, and beyond.”

Also in the SPJ NorCal contest, CIR won in the explanatory journalism (radio/audio national) category for our “Up against the wall” episode on President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The show explored the legal, political and geographic barriers to the construction, while showing what the people who live on the border really think of the plan.