Auburn University honoring five journalists at April awards ceremony

AUBURN – The Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council will pay tribute to five journalists at the council’s annual honors luncheon Friday, April 24, at 11:40 a.m. at the Saugahatchee Country Club.

Syndicated columnist and author Rheta Grimsley Johnson will receive top honors as the 2009 Distinguished Auburn University Journalism Alumnus. Other honorees will be Kathryn Tucker-Windham, Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism; Goodloe Sutton and his late wife, Jean, Distinguished Alabama Community Journalists; Shannon Allen, Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist; and John Logue, Distinguished Mass Media Achievement.

“The Auburn Journalism Advisory Council established these awards to recognize and celebrate the best and most enduring professionals in our field, both in our state and those outside it with Alabama roots,” said committee chair Roy Bain.

Johnson writes a syndicated column from her homes in Iuka, Miss., and Henderson, La. As a student, she was editor of The Auburn Plainsman, the campus newspaper. She has written for newspapers in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee and for United Press International. Besides producing award-winning newspaper work, she has written several books, including “Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana.”

“Rheta was born inquisitive, with a keen eye to observe and an enthusiasm for learning,” said journalism professor emeritus, Jack Simms. “She writes about the South and is as good a storyteller as we have in journalism today.”

Windham, at age 90, is still active as a writer and storyteller from her Selma home. She began her newspaper reporting career in 1941 at The Alabama Journal in Montgomery and later worked for The Birmingham News and The Selma Times-Journal. Her book, “Odd-Egg Editor,” an account of her career as a female covering the police beat during a time few women did so, is required reading in Auburn professor Ed Williams’ newswriting classes. She graduated in 1939 from Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

Goodloe Sutton is publisher and editor of The Democrat-Reporter of Linden. His late wife Jean was managing editor and chief reporter for the husband-wife news team from 1964 until her death in 2003. They earned Pulitzer Prize consideration and other journalistic accolades during those years. Sutton and the Democrat-Reporter have also received more than a dozen Alabama Press Association awards.

Allen is sports editor of The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville. He interned at the newspaper in 1987 and began working there immediately after graduating from the University of Alabama in 1988. He has won numerous Alabama Press association awards.

Logue, a 1955 Auburn graduate, helped launch Progressive Farmer Company’s Southern Living magazine and book publishing division, Oxmoor House. He became managing editor of Southern Living and editor-in-chief of Oxmoor House. In the 1980s he became creative director of all the company’s magazines, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. He remained a consultant for Southern Progress, formerly Progressive Farmer, until last year.

Prior to joining Progressive Farmer, Logue was a reporter and sportswriter for the Montgomery Advertiser, United Press International and the Atlanta Journal. He is the author of a number of books, including several mystery novels and one political novel. He collaborated with Pat Dye on the former Auburn University head football coach’s autobiography.

For information about the awards banquet, contact Nan Fairley at (334) 844-4593 or fairlln@auburn.edu; or Roy Bain at (205) 758-6911. April 10 is the deadline for registration.

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