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Record staff receives William Allen White citation

Staff writer

Marion County Record received the 2024 William Allen White Foundation National Citation during a ceremony Thursday in the University of Kansas student union.

Voted on by foundation trustees, the award recognizes outstanding journalistic services.

The Record’s award was the first National Citation ever given to an entire organization instead of an individual.

The foundation selected the Record for its fearless and determined reaction after police swarmed its newsroom and the home of its owners — eight months to the day earlier — with a search warrant to seize computers and cell phones.

The raid was in response to reporting the newspaper had done on city politics, a local business owner, and perhaps reporting about the police chief’s checkered history with the Kansas City, Missouri, police department.

Despite equipment and reporting material being carted off by police, the Record staff worked through hardship and published the next edition on time. Doing so took two all-night work sessions.

“The Record showed incredible courage and determination in the face of a threat to American democracy and displayed the importance of trustworthy local news,” said Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism.

After Record staff members and editor and publisher editor Eric Meyer were introduced , Meyer spoke to students and foundation members about the raid, the hardship it created, and its effects on staff members and the newspaper.

In addition to delivering the annual William Allen White lecture, he spoke to Multimedia Journalism and Current Issues in Journalism class members and met with current and future editors of the University Daily Kansan.

Meyer was interviewed for the university’s KUJH TV channel, had lunch with journalism students, had dinner the night before the award with journalism faculty members and foundation officers, and was part of a panel discussion about journalism at the annual foundation trustees’ dinner the night of the award.

He and the newspaper’s lawyer, Bernie Rhodes, were featured panelists the next day at the 36th annual Media and Law Seminar at the Intercontinental Hotel at Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. The theme was “Under Attack! Existential Threats to Journalism and Free Speech.”

Meyer and Rhodes’ presentation was “Journalists on the Front Lines: Overcoming Risks to Reporters.”

The week before, Meyer was a featured speaker for two presentations at the national convention of the Scholastic Press Association and Journalism Education Association at the Sheraton Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City,.

Later this week he will be speaking at the Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting at the University of California at Berkeley. Sunday, he will talk at the annual convention of Kansas Collegiate Media in Wichita.

He will be at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, next week for the awarding of the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.

The William Allen White Foundation was founded in 1945, one year after the Kansas Board of Regents established the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at KU.

The foundation has recognized outstanding journalists since 1950.

Previous recipients of the annual award have included Walter Cronkite, Bob Woodward, Charles Kuralt, Helen Thomas, Marty Baron, Molly Ivins, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, Cokie Roberts, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Sally Buzbee, Bob Dotson, Frank Deford, Seymour Hersh, Gordon Parks, and Sanjay Gupta.

Last modified April 18, 2024

 

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