Auburn University’s 10th Journalism Awards to honor distinguished journalists with Alabama ties

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – On its 10th anniversary of honoring outstanding journalists with ties to Alabama, the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council in the College of Liberal Arts will recognize five distinguished print and broadcast professionals at its luncheon Sept. 12. The luncheon will be at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $50 and may be ordered online at www.bitly.com/journalismawards.

The council will also dedicate its highest award to the memory of Roy Bain, a 1959 Auburn graduate and the former publisher of the St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times. Bain was co-founder of the Advisory Council and creator of the council awards. As a young reporter, he covered civil rights in Tuscaloosa and Mississippi. He served in U.S. Army Intelligence overseas in the 1960s during the Cold War and, as editor and publisher of numerous Florida newspapers, worked tirelessly with local governments and leaders to found numerous nonprofits, including parks, libraries and school scholarships. After retiring from newspapers, he returned to Auburn to complete his degree in 2001. Bain died at the age of 77 in December 2013.

The 2014 honorees are: Distinguished Community Sports Journalist, the late Bill Shelton; Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist, John Ehinger; Distinguished Auburn University Journalism Alumnus, Rob Rainey; Distinguished Special Achievement in Mass Media, Mark Winne; and the Roy Bain Distinguished Special Achievement Award in Journalism will go to Harvey H. “Hardy” Jackson.

Shelton served as longtime sports editor of The Cullman Times. He was inducted into the Alabama High School Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Writers Hall of Fame. He was the first inductee of the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame. One of the two top awards by the ASWA bears his name, as does an award given annually to the top girls’ basketball player in Cullman County and the Scholar-Athlete Award at Wallace-Hanceville Community College. Despite his lifelong battle with polio, Shelton became one of the most revered sportswriters in the state, mentoring other journalists throughout the years. He excelled at covering sports at every level, earning him the respect of his readers and his colleagues. He died in 2000.

Ehinger began his career as a reporter at The Huntsville Times and retired as its editorial page editor, a position he was the first to hold in the history of the paper. During his tenure, The Times won numerous awards for Best Editorial, Best Column and Best Editorial Page in state newswriting contests. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and was named Alumni of Achievement at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Prior to his career at The Times, he earned a graduate degree from the University of Connecticut, served as a reporter for the Hartford Courant and, when he was named editor at the Willimatic Chronicle at 25, may have been the youngest editor of a daily newspaper in the country.

Winne is an award-winning investigative reporter for WSB-TV 2 in Atlanta. When he was still a student at Auburn and working part-time for The Birmingham News, he and a photographer spotted a hand sticking out of a car trunk. They chased the car across the city, leading to the rescue of a kidnapping victim and starting Winne’s career of covering crime and corruption. He later went to work full time for the News and then was hired by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He switched to broadcast journalism in 1986 when he went to work for WSB, and he is credited with breaking many of Georgia’s biggest stories. His coverage of mail bombings that included the deaths of a federal judge and a civil rights attorney led him write Priority Mail, which was published in 1995.

Rainey is a nationally recognized cameraman who has won numerous awards, including most recently the DuPont-Columbia Award for CBS’ 60 Minutes segment about the murdered children in Newtown, Conn. He was the director of photography and lead camera man. He is a frequent contributor also to Dateline NBC, ABC’s 20/20, PBS’ Frontline and CNN Presents. He was described in his nomination as one who didn’t just take pictures, “He tells stories. And he tells them with exacting style and grace.”

A 1972 graduate of Auburn, Rainey was WEGL-FM’s first news director and worked for Alabama Public Television beginning in high school. His early broadcast career took him to WCOV in Montgomery, WAPI in Birmingham, WSM in Nashville and CBS News in the Atlanta Bureau. In 1991, he began Rob Rainey Video, and that work has taken him across the country and around the world.

Jackson, a scholar, professor, journalist and author, has taught history at colleges and universities in Florida and Georgia. When he retired in 2013, he was Jacksonville State University Professor and Eminent Scholar in History. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of 11 books on various aspects of Southern history, including Rivers of History: Life on the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Cahaba and Alabama (1995); Putting “Loafing Streams” to Work: The Building of Lay, Mitchell, Martin, and Jordan Dams, 1910-1929 (1997); and Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State (2004), which won the Alabama Historical Association C. J. Coley award. He also has written numerous articles and reviews for popular and scholarly journals. Jackson serves on the Editorial Board of the Anniston Star and writes for the paper.

For more information about the awards and luncheon, contact Judy Sheppard, at sheppje@auburn.edu.

(Contributed by Judy Sheppard.)

Contact: Vicky Santos, College of Liberal Arts, (334) 844-7186 (santovr@auburn.edu),
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)