Tom Curley receives William Allen White journalism award

By The Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Tom Curley, president and chief executive of the Associated Press and a leading industry voice on press-freedom issues, has been named the 2009 recipient of the William Allen White Foundation's national citation.

Curley received the honor for service to journalism yesterday at the University of Kansas.

Curley is considered one of the industry's fiercest defenders of press freedoms. In 2007, he was honored with the First Amendment Award by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for his work encouraging news organizations to fight for the public's right to know.

The next year, he received the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation's First Amendment Leadership Award for his emphasis on open-records laws and First Amendment reporting.

Curley has led the news cooperative's charge into digital delivery of news, including the creation of AP Exchange. The database allows all AP content to be searched by staff and customers.

"Tom Curley represents big and appropriate repositioning at The Associated Press, which, like all of journalism, must redefine itself in this time of change," said Tom Eblen, chairman of the White Foundation.

White, whose name is on the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was publisher of the Emporia Gazette in Kansas until his death in 1944.

Previous honorees include Walter Cronkite, Helen Thomas, Bernard Shaw and Bob Woodward.