LAWRENCE — Journalists from the Hutchinson News, the Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle are recipients of this year’s Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.
Each year during William Allen White Day events, the School of Journalism presents the award to a journalist at a newspaper circulated in Kansas who has demonstrated enterprise in developing and writing a significant news story. With strong entries submitted this year, judges decided to honor three deserving enterprise projects:
Hutchinson News: John Green and Amy Bickel delved into the causes and implications of earthquakes that have spread across south-central Kansas and neighboring Oklahoma. Through interviews with scientists, regulators and citizens, the reporters explained the quakes’ ties to hydraulic fracturing and the damage the quakes have done to buildings and psyches. One of the most impressive parts of their work is an interactive map, updated weekly, that tracks earthquakes across Kansas and Oklahoma and reports the latest news about quakes.
Kansas City Star: Judy Thomas' dogged reporting exposes a critical weakness in national security: Domestic terrorism poses perhaps the greatest danger to the United States today even as federal and state agencies focus on international threats. Her stories explore holes in the system that tracks terrorism suspects, the political finger-pointing that shifts attention from the problem, and the challenges of monitoring of individual extremists and small, scattered groups that have killed more than 50 people, set fire to black churches in the South and attempted to set up enclaves in central Kansas and Nebraska.
Wichita Eagle: Bryan Lowry's reporting throughout 2015 showed how Gov. Sam Brownback and his advisers used private email accounts to shield government communication from public scrutiny. In at least one instance, the state budget director used a private account to share draft budget documents with lobbyists, and Brownback eventually disclosed that he had been using private email accounts for official government business since he was a U.S. senator. Lowry’s stories have led to attempts to strengthen state open records laws.
The award is named in honor of Burton W. Marvin, former dean of the journalism school and the first director of the William Allen White Foundation. The award, to be presented Friday, April 15, will cap off the school’s William Allen White Day events, which include honoring PBS journalist Gwen Ifill with the William Allen White Foundation National Citation Award.
Due to a scheduling conflict, Ifill, who is moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will not be able to attend the ceremony. Ifill will receive the citation award in absentia, and Gerald Seib, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and 2005 National Citation recipient, will accept the award on her behalf and give the keynote address. Seib, a 1978 graduate of the School of Journalism and former editor of the University Daily Kansan, will talk about how KU scholarships benefited him and about the media and the 2016 presidential campaign. He will take questions after his address, which will precede the school’s scholarships and awards ceremony.
The public is invited to William Allen White Day events starting at 3 p.m. April 14 in the Kansas Union Ballroom.