"He was among the first journalists to carve out economics as a beat -- something routine in journalism now," his nephew, Mark Neikirk, former managing editor of The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post, wrote on Facebook. Bill Neikirk won the Gerald Loeb Award for business writing in 1979, and was a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize that year for a series on the impact of world trade. In 1995, he won the Merriman Smith Award for presidential reporting, and in 2007 was president of the Gridiron Club, an elite group known for its entertaining but private annual dinner.
He is survived by the former Ruth Ann Clary, his wife of 59 years; two sons, John (Lisa) and Greg (Jeannette), and a daughter, Christa (Kevin Chang); and two grandchildren, Matthew and Isabella (John). A memorial service will be held as soon as feasible at Rock Springs Congregational Church in Arlington, Va., where he lived. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the scholarship fund he created at the University of Kentucky, his alma mater, for journalism students from the state's Appalachian region, "so that another kid from the mountains will grow up to contribute as Bill did," his nephew wrote. The address is: William Robert Neikirk Scholarship Fund, UK Gift Receiving Office, 210 Malabu Drive, #200, Lexington KY 40502, or at https://bit.ly/2xwienB.