Five journalists to be honored April 23 at Auburn University

AUBURN – Howell Raines, Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times journalist, is one of five veteran news professionals selected to receive 2010 Auburn Journalism Honors awards April 23. The awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center by the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council. The luncheon will begin at 11:40 a.m., with a social hour and registration beginning at 11 a.m.

The other four honorees are the late Paul Hemphill, Atlanta Journal columnist and author; John Stevenson, editor and publisher of The Randolph Leader in Roanoke; George Smith, former sports editor and long-time columnist at The Anniston Star; and David White, who has covered the Alabama Legislature for the Birmingham News since 1989.

Raines will receive the award for Distinguished Mass Media Achievement. A Birmingham native, he won the 1992 Pulitzer for his New York Times article about his relationship with his family’s black housekeeper during the segregation era. Prior to his position as executive editor of the Times, Raines served as the paper’s London Bureau chief and Washington Bureau chief. During his editorship, the New York Times won a record seven Pulitzers, several for coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Raines began his journalism career in 1964 at the Birmingham Post-Herald and then moved to the Tuscaloosa News. He was political editor of the St. Petersburg Times and the Atlanta Constitution. He is a Birmingham Southern College graduate with a master’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Hemphill, who died last year and was also a Birmingham native, will be honored as Distinguished Auburn Journalism Alumnus. He authored more than a dozen books after a long run as a newspaper reporter and columnist. The Auburn graduate worked as a sports writer at the Birmingham News before moving to Atlanta where he became a celebrated columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He wrote about country music, evangelism, football and stock car racing and his books include “A Tiger Walk Through History.”

Stevenson, who will be presented the Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist Award, has been publisher and editor of The Randolph Leader at Roanoke since 1982, the third generation Stevenson in that seat and only the third editor of the newspaper his grandfather founded in 1892. He earned a business degree at Auburn, an MBA at Pepperdine University and served six years as an Army officer before returning to his newspaper roots. He is president of the National Auburn Journalism Honors Newspaper Association and has served as president of the Alabama Press Association.

Smith will receive the award for Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist. Although retired, he continues to write a general interest column for The Anniston Star. The Ohatchee native began as a copy boy at The Anniston Star in May 1955. He began his journalism career by covering high school football games on weekends. Smith was named sports editor in November 1958. He retained that title, and expanded the one-man staff to five over the years, until summer of 1977, when he moved to the news side as a general columnist. As a sports writer, Smith won several Associated Press awards and was named Alabama’s Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

White has covered the Alabama Legislature for The Birmingham News since December 1989. The Iowa native is an Auburn graduate with a master’s degree from Ohio State University. He worked for The Orlando Sentinel before returning in 1988 to Alabama to work in the Montgomery bureau for The Birmingham News. He initially covered state government, but a year later began his coverage of the legislature.

A veteran journalist wrote, “(White) writes thorough and accurate reports on state government, and he is particularly keen on budgets. He knows how to do the math. He can also analyze and report on pending legislation, including the content and impact of the bill. He includes the odds of a bill making it through the legislature, the pros and cons and the skullduggery involved in the machinations.”

The Auburn Journalism Advisory Council established these awards six years ago to recognize and celebrate the best and most enduring professionals in its field, both in this state and those outside it with Alabama roots. Only the Auburn Journalism Alumnus award must go to someone with Auburn connections.

Tickets for the luncheon are $40. The social hour and registration begin at 11 a.m. and the luncheon begins at 11:40 a.m. RSVP to John Carvalho at carvajp@auburn.edu.

Contact: John Carvalho, (334) 844-4454 (carvajp@auburn.edu),
Roy Bain, (205) 758-6911 (rbain1217@att.net), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)