Auburn University Journalism Awards to honor distinguished journalists, historian

AUBURN – Longtime ABC News correspondent Jim Wooten and widely regarded Auburn historian and activist Wayne Flynt are among the five honorees chosen to receive the 2012 Auburn Journalism Awards.

The other honorees are Valley Times-News publisher Cy Wood, Alabama High School Athletic Association Communication director Ron Ingram and al.com senior producer Vickey Hunt Williams. The awards will be presented at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center on Friday, April 27, at 11:30 a.m.

In presenting the annual awards, the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council seeks “to recognize and honor the best professional performers in our field with Alabama roots,” said Roy Bain, Auburn Journalism Awards committee chairman.

Wooten will receive the Distinguished Mass Media Achievement award. He is recognized for his 25-plus years as an ABC News correspondent and for his earlier work as a newspaper reporter. He is a former reporter for The Huntsville Times and was a White House correspondent for The New York Times. Wooten began at ABC News in 1979. He filed stories from 40 countries and five continents and contributed to World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America and other ABC News broadcasts before retiring in 2008. He wrote four books, including “We Are All the Same: A Story of a Boy’s Courage and a Mother’s Love.” Publishers Weekly described the book as an “extraordinarily moving account of a courageous South African boy’s battle with AIDS that is also a scathing indictment of South African leaders who have failed to confront the AIDS epidemic in their country.”

Flynt will be presented the Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism award. He is recognized for his research and writing on Southern culture, Alabama politics, Southern religion, education reform and poverty. He has written numerous newspaper articles and he wrote or co-authored a dozen books, two of which were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes. His latest book, published in 2011, is a memoir titled, “Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.” He is an emeritus professor in the Auburn University Department of History.

Wood will be presented the Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist award. As publisher and editor of The Valley Times-News since 1993, Wood is admired for “his newspaper’s faithful local coverage, his editorial page and his extraordinary outreach work,” Auburn journalism professor Judith Sheppard said. Even those who do not agree with him “can’t fault how well-researched, well-built and complete is his reasoning.” He has written his own column since 1976, which has earned first-place honors in state association newspaper contests in Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.

Ingram will be recognized as the Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist. He has served as communication chief for the Alabama High School Athletic Association since 2007. He began his career as a Dothan sports writer, served as sports editor at the Dothan Eagle and as high school sports editor at The Birmingham News. In 1987, Ingram won the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Herby Kirby Award and was named the Bill Shelton Sports Writer of the Year in 2006. He wrote two books, including “Tales from Alabama Prep Football.”

Williams is in the third chapter of her career as senior producer at al.com. She will receive the Distinguished Auburn University Journalism Alumna award. She began in traditional newspaper reporting and editing and was later a top news executive for a large newspaper group. She then directed a research project at the American Press Institute centered on digital evolution of media. She also directed the Digital Workforce Initiative at the Media Management Center, Northwestern University. She authored “All Eyes Forward,” a book on workforce change in media companies, and “Life Beyond Print,” a research study offering insights into the digital evolution in America’s newsrooms.

“The annual awards recognize community journalism, in particular, because it is a bedrock discipline of Auburn journalism’s education mission,” said Jennifer Wood Adams, Auburn University journalism program director.

The 2012 Honors Luncheon and Awards Ceremony luncheon tickets are $50 per person. Checks should be made out to Auburn University. Please write “Friend of Journalism Account” in the memo line. Send the checks to: Jennifer Wood Adams, Journalism Program Director, Department of Communication and Journalism, 232 Tichenor Hall, Auburn, AL 36849. The deadline for reservations is Wednesday, April 18.

The Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council established these awards in 2005 “to recognize and celebrate the best and most enduring professionals in our field” who work inside or outside the state, but have Alabama roots. Only the Auburn University Journalism Alumnus award requires that the recipient has an Auburn University journalism connection, and it is not restricted to those in the practice of journalism. The advisory council realizes numerous Auburn University journalism alums have succeeded admirably in a variety of fields.

Nomination letters for the awards are accepted annually, September through October. Current and former professionals are eligible nominees. For more information about the awards, contact Adams at adamsj1@auburn.edu or Bain, chairman of the awards committee rbain1217@att.net.

(Contributed by Jennifer Wood Adams.)

Contact: Jennifer Wood Adams, Journalism Program Director, (334) 844-2751, (adamsj1@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999, (clardch@auburn.edu)