The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues named the award for Tom and Pat Gish, above, who were the first recipients of the award, in 2005. Tom died in November 2008; Pat has health issues but remains publisher, and their son Ben is editor. This year, the Gish family won the Eugene Cervi Award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors for consistently acting in the conviction that “good journalism begets good government.”
The 2007 Gish Award was won by the Ezzell family of The Canadian Record, a Texas weekly that has held local, state and national politicians accountable, fought political extremism, opposed unwise military adventures and helped protect the environment, often against organized and violent opposition. The 2008 award went to James E. Prince III, and Stanley Dearman, current and former publishers of The Neshoba Democrat, a weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Miss. The Democrat was recognized for its leadership, especially on civil rights and reconciliation over the last four decades. For a more detailed description of the award, its history and those of the recipients, click here.
The Gish Award was not presented in 2006 and 2009, but it will be in 2010. The Institute seeks nominations that measure up, at least in major respects, to the records of previous winners.