Tuesday, March 06, 2018

April 1 is the deadline to nominate courageous rural journalists for the 2018 Tom and Pat Gish Award

Tom and Pat Gish
Nominations are due April 1 for the Tom and Pat Gish Award, which annually recognizes the courage, integrity and tenacity that is so often necessary to provide good journalism in rural areas. The award, named for the crusading couple who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for more than 50 years, is given by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog.

Nominations should measure up, at least in major respects, to records of earlier winners, available at www.RuralJournalism.org. For example, the Gishes 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. The most recent winners, the Cullen family of Iowa's Storm Lake Times, overcame obstacles to persevere in covering and commenting on water-pollution issues in Iowa, often to the dislike of agribusiness interests that are sources of much of the pollution.

Other winners have been the Ezzell family of The Canadian (Tex.) Record, in 2007; James E. Prince III and the late Stanley Dearman, current and former publishers of The Neshoba Democrat of Philadelphia, Miss., in 2008; Samantha Swindler of The Oregonian 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; in 2015, the Trapp family of the Rio Grande Sun in EspaƱola, N.M.; and in 2016, Ivan Foley of the Platte County Landmark in Missouri.

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 al.cross@uky.edu.

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