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Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism

The Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism was created at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication in 1999. The award was created "to honor the journalist of integrity and character who reports with insight and clarity in the face of political or economic pressures and to reward performance that inspires public trust in the media." The award was established by Seattle broadcaster Ancil Payne, former president and CEO of KING-TV. Past award winners have included freelancers, broadcasters and print reporters from media organizations large and small. Award winners receive a $10,000 prize.



Michael Phillips of the Wall Street Journal was awarded for his series “The Lobotomy Files,” an in-depth investigation into the roughly 2,000 soldiers lobotomized during and after World War II by the Veterans Administration.

Editor Abbey Crain, magazine editor Matt Ford and editor-in-chief Mazie Bryant of the University of Alabama’s Crimson White newspaper, were chosen for their work on “The Final Barrier” examining segregation in Greek life at the University of Alabama.

The selection committee also selected Thomson Reuters news organization for its decision to publish the three-part series “Assets of the Ayatollah.”


The 2012 Ancil Payne Award Winner is Robert “Alex” Green, a student journalist from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee who published a story about the arrest and resignation of a Bible professor at the conservative Christian college despite the president of the college forbidding it.


The Yancey County News, a weekly newspaper in rural Burnsville, North Carolina; and freelance journalists Matthew LaPlante and Rick Egan are winners of the 2012 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. LaPlante and Rick Egan were recognized for their efforts to document the ritual killing of “cursed” children in Ethiopia’s South Omo River Valley.[1]



  • News Organization: The Seattle Times
  • Individual Journalist: Glen Mabie
  • Collegiate Media: None awarded


  • News Organization—The Phoenix New Times and The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review
  • Individual Journalist—None awarded
  • Collegiate Media—Ashley Gough, editor of The Mount Observer at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass.


  • News Organization: The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times
  • Individual Journalist: Staff, the Santa Barbara News-Press
  • Collegiate Media: None awarded
  • Special Citation: The (Raleigh) News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer
  • Special Citation: Josh Wolf




  • Virginia Gerst, for her management of a conflict with the Pioneer Press regarding a negative restaurant review.
  • Bakersfield Californian for its reporting on the stabbing death of a government attorney.
  • Joel Elliott of Toccoa Falls College, for his role in exposing dishonesty in the resume of the college's president.




  • David Offer, editor of Stars and Stripes, for resigning to protest publisher censorship.
  • D'Anne Hamilton and Nellie Moore, for protesting an editorial decision.
  • The Jackson Sun for its historical coverage of voting rights demonstrations in 1960, including an examination of why the paper did not cover the events at the time.


See also


External links

  • Payne Awards School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon

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