Monday, April 25, 2016

Time to nominate rural journalists of courage, integrity and tenacity for Tom and Pat Gish Award

Nominations for the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism, given by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, must be received by May 10.

Gishes at award announcement, 2004
The award is named for the late Tom and Pat Gish, who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for more than 51 years. They withstood advertiser boycotts, business competition, declining population, personal attacks, and even the burning of their office to give their readers the kind of journalism often lacking in rural areas, and were the first winners of the award named for them.

Other winners have been the Ezzell family of The Canadian (Tex.) Record, in 2007; James E. Prince III and Stanley Dearman, current and former publishers of The Neshoba Democrat of Philadelphia, Miss., in 2008; Samantha Swindler, editor and publisher of the Headlight Herald in Tillamook, Ore., in 2010 for her work as editor of the Corbin, Ky., Times-Tribune and managing editor of the Jacksonville (Tex.) Daily Progress; in 2011, Stanley Nelson and the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, La.; in 2012, Jonathan and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News in Burnsville, N.C.. in 2014, the late Landon Wills of Kentucky's McLean County News; and in 2015, the Trapp family of the Rio Grande Sun in EspaƱola, N.M.

The Institute seeks nominations that measure up, at least in major respects, to the records of previous winners, which are detailed at Nominators should send detailed letters to Institute Director Al Cross, explaining how their nominees show the kind of exemplary courage, tenacity and integrity that the Gishes demonstrated in their rigorous pursuit of rural journalism. Detailed documentation does not have to accompany the nomination, but is helpful in choosing finalists, and additional documentation may be requested or required. Questions may be directed to Cross at 859-257-3744 or

Letters should be postmarked by May 7 and mailed to: Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Journalism Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042, or emailed to by May 10.

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