Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism for outstanding ethical decisions or work published in 2011. A hallmark for excellence in journalism ethics, the annual award recognizes journalists and news organizations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ethical conduct, even when faced with economic, personal, or political pressure.
“In this digital age, when the lines of journalism are increasingly blurred, it is even more important to recognize those who have demonstrated extraordinary ethical fortitude and courage,” said Tim Gleason, Dean of the SOJC. “How ethical decisions about controversial stories are made and reported – or in some cases, not reported – should always be at the forefront of journalistic standards, for it is the core of what makes media trustworthy. We are glad to honor journalists and news organizations that are exemplars of ethics in our field.”
In 2011, Ancil Payne Awards were given to The New York Times for its handling and reporting of controversial materials by Julian Assange on the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks in 2010 and to Stanley Nelson, editor of the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, Louisiana, for coverage of the 1964 murder of Frank Morris, a black Ferriday businessman. The Concordia Sentinel published a series of stories on the racially charged murder and confronted significant pressure from local stakeholders who urged the paper to ignore the decades-old case.
Also in 2011, Damon Winter, a photographer for The New York Times, received a special citation from the awards panel for work documenting the devastation and death in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake – a situation which The New York Times “Lens” co-editor David Dunlap described as one requiring journalists “to invent a code of ethics on the spot.” The staff of the student Yale Daily News also earned a special citation for its coverage of a Yale student’s high-profile suicide in March 2010.
The Ancil Payne Awards accepts entries from news organizations and professional and student journalists in broadcasting, print, or digital media. Journalists and outlets can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party. Nominations for the Ancil Payne Awards are limited to material published, broadcast, or posted in the United States, or decisions made by journalists or news organizations based in the United States. Nominations can be submitted online at http://journalism.uoregon.edu/payneawards/forms_criteria and are due no later than Feb. 27, 2012.
A panel of judges representing both the news industry and academia will determine the 2012 Ancil Payne Awards winners. The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 17, 2012 on the University of Oregon campus, in conjunction with the 2012 Ruhl Lecture. Winners of the 2012 Ancil Payne Awards will be announced in April 2012.
About the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism
Established in 1999 at the School of Journalism and Communication by Seattle broadcasting legend Ancil Payne (1921-2004), the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism honor journalists and news organizations that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to ethical conduct, even when faced with economic, personal, or political pressure.
Ancil Payne, a leader in Northwest broadcasting and lifelong contributor to the arts, politics, and education, was CEO of KING broadcasting and helped establish its reputation for and commitment to ethical journalism. In creating the award, Payne envisioned a program that would reward journalists acting with integrity and character, restore public trust in the media, and inspire people to do good work.