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Ida B. Wells Award

Ida B Wells

The prize is designed to give tangible and highly visible recognition to an individual or group of individuals who have provided distinguished leadership in opening doors of employment opportunity and covering minorities in American journalism.

Eligibility: News executives, managers, journalists or any individual who has made a significant difference in the hiring, promotion and/or news coverage of underrepresented minorities.

Award

A distinguished journalist, fearless reporter and wife of one of America's earliest black publishers, Ida B. Wells (1862 - 1931) also was editor and proprietor of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. She told her male co-founders she would not help launch the newspaper unless she was made "equal to them." In the late 19th century, she won acclaim on two continents for her fearless crusade against lynching. She championed an integrated society and urged black Americans to claim their rightful share of jobs in the emerging industrial society. Today, her Chicago home is a National Historic Landmark.

The award consists of a bust with a specific notation of the act or actions that are being recognized. Medill faculty co-curate the award.

The award is presented at the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Rules of entry

Nominations for 2017 are closed. We will post the next deadline when it is available. 

Founding sponsors

The award is given jointly by Medill and the National Association of Black Journalists. A jury of Medill faculty and NABJ representatives selects the recipients. The jury considers nominees annually and may present one award per year. However, it is not required that the award be conferred every year.

Winners

Column 1

2017

  • Rochelle Riley, columnist, Detroit Free Press

2016

  • Sidmel Estes, honored posthumously

2015

  • No award given

2014

  • Sheila Solomon, adjunct professor, Columbia College

2013

  • Richard Prince, columnist, Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

2012

  • Michael Fields, news director at WABE

2011

  • Walterene Swanston, diversity consultant, former director of diversity management, NPR

2010

  • No award given

2009

  • Bobbie Bowman, diversity director, American Society of News Editors

2008

  • Johnita P. Due, senior counseland diversity council chair, CNN

2007

  • Steve Campus, president, NBC News

2006

  • Virgil L. Smith, president and publisher, Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times

2005

  • Reggie Stuart, corporate recruiter, Knight Ridder

2004

  • Don Browne, chief operating officer, Telemundo

2003

  • David Yarnold, senior vice president and editor, San Jose Mercury News

2002

  • Sam Adams, retiring curator, Ida B. Wells Award Program

2001

  • Reid MacCluggage, editor and publisher (ret.), The Day, New London, Connecticut

2000

  • No award given

1999

  • Timothy M. Kelly, president and publisher, (Lexington, Ky.) Herald-Leader

Column 2

1998

  • Paula Walker Madison, vice president and news director, WNBC, New York

1997

  • Frank A. Biethen, publisher and chief executive officer, The Seattle Times

1996

  • Donald Graham, publisher, The Washington Post Companies

1995

  • Shelbey Coffey III, editor and executive vice president, Los Angeles Times

1994

  • Gerald M. Sass, senior vice president, The Freedom Forum

1993

  • Wanda Lloyd, senior editor for administration, USA Today

1992

  • Jay T. Harris, vice president/operations and assistant to the president, Knight Ridder, Inc.

1991

  • John C. Quinn, deputy chair, The Freedom Forum, and former chief news executive, Gannett Co. Inc.

1990

  • Mervin Aubespin, associate editor, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal

1989

  • Albert Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president, Knight Ridder Inc.

1988

  • David Lawrence Jr., publisher and chair, Detroit Free Press

1987

  • Loren Ghiglione, editor and publisher, The News, Southbridge, Massachusetts

1986

  • James K. Batten, president, Knight Ridder Inc.

1985

  • Barry Bingham Jr., editor and publisher, The Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times, both in Louisville, Kentucky

1984

  • Daniel B. Burke, president and chief operating officer, Capital Cities Broadcasting

1983

  • Allen H. Neuharth, chair and president, Gannett Co. Inc.