Dean Mills, left,
dean of University of Missouri School of Journalism, and Brady Deaton, chancellor of University of Missouri-Columbia, present medal to John
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
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
Karen Brown Dunlap is president of the Poynter Institute, a
professional-development school for journalists and other media professionals in
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.