AU Journalism Advisory Council to honor five media leaders with annual awards

AUBURN – Auburn University’s Journalism Advisory Council has chosen five veterans of Alabama journalism to receive the 2007 Auburn Journalism Honors, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of those in media fields.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon April 6 at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The Distinguished AU Journalism Alumnus Award, presented to an AU Journalism alumnus with a distinguished professional career in his or her field, will be presented to Jerry E. Brown, a Clarke County native who currently serves as dean of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.

Brown spent 20 years as a faculty member with AU’s Department of Journalism, where he served as department head for seven years. He has been at the University of Montana since July 1999. He received his B.A. in journalism from Auburn in 1967.

Alvin Benn, a 25-year reporter and columnist for the Montgomery Advertiser, will receive the Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist award. Following high school and a six-year stint in the Marine Corps, Benn became bureau chief for United Press International in Birmingham and covered some of the most momentous events of the American Civil Rights era. Benn’s work included interviews with Martin Luther King Jr. and George Wallace, as well as with leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party. In the years that followed, Benn became a writer, photographer, editor and publisher at newspapers in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. He retired in 2003, but continues to write columns and handle other duties at the Montgomery Advertiser.

The advisory council will honor John Pruett with the Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist award. Pruett has been the sports editor of the Huntsville Times for 32 years. “He has been a fixture in the Huntsville athletic community. An example of the way people there feel about him is that they have named two press boxes for him and elected him into two local halls of fame,” Pruett’s nominator wrote.

Edward Mullins will be honored by the advisory council with the Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism award. Mullins retired in December as chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Alabama but he continues to teach.

He has had a 30-year tenure as an educator and has been a full-time reporter or editor for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Raleigh News and Observer, and Temple, Texas, Daily Telegram. Mullins is also the author of two books on reporting and editing and numerous papers, book chapters and articles on journalism and mass communication.

The award for Distinguished Mass Media Achievement will be presented to Robert B. Ingram Jr. Ingram is retired from an active career in Montgomery where he spent 15 years as chief political writer and columnist for the Montgomery Advertiser, covering the events that shaped Alabama history. He also published Alabama magazine for 13 years and spent 16 years as a political analyst and editorial director of WSFA.

The awards are presented annually and recipients are selected from nominations received from across Alabama, said Nan Fairley, an AU journalism professor who coordinates the advisory council’s activities. The AU Journalism Advisory Council is made up of 20 AU journalism alumni who serve as an essential link between the journalism program and its graduates.

“One of the best ways we can encourage excellence in our journalism students is to point them to those journalists whose lives demonstrate such excellence. In that sense, we have succeeded, through this year’s group of honorees,” said John Carvalho, director of AU’s journalism program.

(Contributed by Katie Wilder.)

Contact: Nan Fairley, (334) 844-4953 (fairln@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)