Grady College establishes award to honor and protect public dialogue on American campuses

Athens, Ga. – An annual award to recognize efforts by college journalists to protect the integrity of public dialogue on American campuses has been established by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Newspaper Management Studies in the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The award honors the late Betty Gage Holland, long-time friend of journalism education at UGA.

The Betty Gage Holland Award will recognize campus journalists and their newspapers or magazines for distinguished service in the ongoing battle to protect the people’s right and need to know, to force open official doors that have been closed on the people’s business and to protect the integrity of the public dialogue on which our democracy stands.

Conrad Fink, Grady College professor of journalism and director of the Cox Institute, said the “battle for free expression and untainted public dialogue” must be fought by campus journalists. “We want to recognize the courage and journalistic initiative required when campus journalists join their professional colleagues in fighting for the people’s right to know,” he explained.

Of special importance to judges making this award are news stories, institutional editorials or personal commentaries or columns that single out for public examination any act that results in distortion or pollution of the public discourse.

This could include published revelation of any attempt, in or out of official circles, to fabricate or spin public communication for personal, political or ideological gain.

Use of open records or “sunshine” laws by campus newspapers or magazines is deemed particularly meritorious if the result is to let the people see the people’s business being done.

Nominations for the award may be made by or on behalf of any journalist(s) regularly enrolled in a university or college at the time of publication and also by or on behalf of any campus newspaper or magazine, whether independent or university supported, that published the pertinent material.

An award of $1,000 will be made to the winning journalist(s) and $1,000 to the sponsoring newspaper or magazine. Judges will be drawn from faculty of UGA’s Grady College.

Nominations for each calendar year and supporting documentation must be submitted no later than Jan. 15, 2006, to: Director, Cox Institute, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602.

Submissions must include: (1) five copies or tear sheets of the published material, (2) a cover letter of no more than 300 words by the nominated journalist(s) explaining the journalistic motive, reporting methods and impact or results of the published material, and (3) an endorsement of no more than 300 words by the publisher or editor in chief of the newspaper or magazine that published the material.

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2005. It provides seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Peabody Awards, considered the electronic broadcasting industry’s most prestigious prize