Robert Haught, longtime coordinator of the NSNC’s Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, has announced nominations now are being accepted for this year.
The deadline for entries is Monday, April 1, 2013, with the honoree notified by May 1, 2013. The recipient will be honored at the NSNC annual conference, this year to be June 27-30, in Hartford, Conn.
The Will Rogers Humanitarian Award is presented annually by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists to a writer whose work has positively affected readers’ lives and produced tangible humanitarian benefits. Support for the program is provided by the Will Rogers Writers Foundation and the Will Rogers Memorial Museums.
Rogers (1879-1935) used his forum as a multimedia entertainer and columnist to arouse sentiment for worthy causes and helped raise large sums of money for victims of natural disasters and economic hard times. The star of stage, screen, radio and newspapers practiced “civic journalism” long before it became a familiar term — aptly described by the Pew Center as “both a philosophy and a set of values … at its heart is a belief that journalism has an obligation to public life — an obligation that goes beyond just telling the news or unloading lots of facts.”
Past winners include the late best-selling author Jeffrey Zaslow, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal; Dave Lieber, “Watchdog” columnist in Texas; Canadian columnist Lindor Reynolds; Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press; and the 2012 winner, Mike Masterson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, cited for his record of “compassionate journalism” fighting against injustice as an investigative reporter and columnist.
While the complete rules for the honor can be found on the PDF of the 2013 Will Rogers Award form, following are highlights to clarify what is expected.
The winner receives a tabletop statue, shown above, and a $500 stipend to defray travel expenses to the conference. The recipient is expected to attend the awards dinner.
- Any salaried, staff, syndicated or regularly published newspaper columnist, investigative reporter or feature writer is eligible.
- Nominations may be based on a body of work, but the nominee must have written material that appeared in a daily or weekly newspaper in the U.S. or Canada during 2012 that related to his or her humanitarian activities.
- Nominations may be submitted by a newspaper editor, managing editor, executive editor, publisher or community leader and must be signed. Writers may not nominate themselves. A community leader’s nomination must include a letter of support from the entrant’s newspaper. There is a $20 handling fee per entry.
- Entries will consist of a brief description of the work done by the nominee to merit the award; a statement of supporting reasons for the nomination; published writing examples on which the nomination is based.
- Entries will not be returned. Nominating materials may be reprinted in the NSNC newsletter, on the NSNC website or other NSNC publications.
- This award recognizes outstanding civic journalism. It is not a writing contest.