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Seigenthaler wins Missouri award

By Melanie Bengtson
First Amendment Center Online intern

Dean Mills, left, dean of University of Missouri School of Journalism, and Brady Deaton, chancellor of University of Missouri-Columbia, present medal to John Seigenthaler.

First Amendment Center founder John Seigenthaler and seven other prominent journalists received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in Columbia, Mo., on Nov. 1.

The award, given by the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism since 1930, recognizes “lifetime or superior achievement, for distinguished service performed in ... journalistic endeavor.”

Seigenthaler earned the award for his decades of work as a journalist and First Amendment advocate. He worked as a reporter at The Tennessean in Nashville, where he also became editor, publisher and chief executive officer and currently serves as chairman emeritus. The founding editorial director of USA TODAY, Seigenthaler also worked with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the 1960s. In 1991, he founded the First Amendment Center, which has offices in Nashville and Washington, D.C.

All of the medalists gave lectures to graduate students while at the university for the award presentations. Seigenthaler’s was called, “Our Flag: Salute It or Burn It?”

The seven other medalists represent a number of journalistic fields.

  • Clifford G. Christians is professor of journalism and media studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also serves on the editorial boards of three dozen academic journals.

  • The Committee of Concerned Journalists, its founding director and chairman Bill Kovach and its vice chairman Tom Rosenstiel were awarded the medal for their work to develop a community of journalists and professionals aimed at raising the standards of American journalism. 

  • Chuck Curtis is the chairman of Valentine Radford/Square One Advertising, which boasts such clients as Dr Pepper, Pizza Hut, the Dallas Cowboys and Sprint Yellow Pages.

  • Reza Deghati, an Iranian photojournalist who goes by “Reza,” works to combat injustice through his photography. He has worked for National Geographic and as a United Nations consultant in Afghanistan. He founded AINA, an organization that works in Afghanistan to develop independent media and cultural expression.

  • Karen Brown Dunlap is president of the Poynter Institute, a professional-development school for journalists and other media professionals in Florida.

  • Zubeida Jaffer, a South African journalist, is best known for her work in the anti-apartheid movement. Currently she works as a political analyst for the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

    Melanie Bengtson is an intern at the First Amendment Center and a sophomore studying developmental politics at Belmont University.

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