Support ethical journalism with a Payne Award nomination

2019 Payne Award winners

Entering an election year, the trustworthiness of the media continues to be a topic of public debate. Yet few people outside the profession are aware of the ethical standards journalists adhere to or the tough choices they make behind the scenes.

For the past 20 years, the School of Journalism and Communication has presented the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism to honor journalists and news organizations that have made difficult ethical decisions while transparently reporting and publishing impactful and unbiased stories, often in the face of personal, economic or political pressure. The award includes a $10,000 prize.

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Payne Awards. The School of Journalism and Communication encourages all members of the UO community and the public to nominate a U.S.-based journalist or news organization for a story published in any medium during 2019. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 15.

It’s easy to nominate. Just fill out the form with a link to a story or series, the name and contact information of the journalist or news organization, and a brief explanation describing why you think they deserve the Payne Award and the $10,000 prize.

“The public depends on journalists to provide them with accurate news,” said Juan-Carlos Molleda, Edwin L. Artzt Dean and professor in the School of Journalism and Communication. “Any journalistic work that does not meet this standard not only violates the industry’s code of ethics but also betrays the public trust. The Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism honors and awards those journalists who prioritize the truth and the trust of their public, even when that is the most difficult path to take.”

Seattle broadcasting legend Ancil Payne founded the award at the School of Journalism and Communication in 1999. His family has continued to support the award since Payne’s death in 2004.

Last year’s Payne Award winners were Minnesota Public Radio journalists Eric Ringham, Meg Martin, Euan Kerr, Matt Sepic and Laura Yuen.

In 2017, Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with Garrison Keillor, the host of the network’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” but did not disclose the reason. Despite ongoing pressure from Keillor, his fan base and their own employer, the winning journalists pursued the truth and uncovered sexual misconduct allegations against Keillor at the height of the #MeToo movement.

This year, the School of Journalism and Communication is asking for nominations of a similar caliber.

“It’s been an exciting news year,” said Tim Gleason, journalism professor and director of the Payne Award. “Now we need the public’s help to honor the journalists and news organizations that have done the difficult but crucial work of bringing the truth to light.”

—By Kyra Hanson, School of Journalism and Communication