The Ida B. Wells Award
Purpose: To give tangible and highly visible recognition to an individual or group of individuals and their company. Winners should have provided distinguished leadership in opening doors of employment opportunity and in coverage of minorities in American journalism.
Eligibility: News executives, managers, journalists or any individual who has made a significant difference in the hiring, promotion and news coverage of underrepresented minorities.
Ida B. Wells: Distinguished journalist, a fearless reporter and wife of one of America's earliest black publishers, Ida B. Wells 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 lynchings. She championed an integrated society and urged black Americans to see their rightful share of the jobs in the new industrial society. Today a massive public housing complex in Chicago is named in her honor.
Sponsors: The award is given jointly by the National Association of Black Journalists. A jury of seven people is selected each year by the sponsoring bodies, including one member and the president of each of these bodies. The Wells Jury considers nominees annually and may present one award per year. However, it is not required that the award be conferred every year.
The Wells Award: The award consists of a bust with a specific notation of the act or pattern of actions that are being recognized. Professors at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University are co-curators of the award.
Presentations: The award is presented alternately at the national conventions of the sponsoring bodies.
Nominations: Any person may nominate candidates by sending relevant supporting data to the Wells Jury. Nominations shall include an official entry form and statements demonstrating why the nominee's activities show exemplary leadership consistent with the career of Ida B. Wells.
Previous Wells Honorees: (*Titles are those when award was presented)
2012 Michael Fields
News Director, Public Broadcasting Atlanta/WABE 90.1 FM
2011 Walterene Swanston
Diversity Consultant, former Director of Diversity Management for
National Public Radio
2010 No award given
2009 Bobbi Bowman
Diversity Director, American Society of News Editors
2008 Johnita P. Due
Senior Counsel & Diversity Council Chair, CNN
2007 Steve Capus
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 & 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-Herald-Leader, Kentucky
1998 Paula Walker Madison
Vice President and News Director, WNBC, New York
1997 Frank A. Blethen
Publisher and Chief Executive Officer, The Seattle Times
1996 Donald Graham
Publisher, The Washington Post Companies
1995 Shelby 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, Former Chief News Executive,
Gannett Co., Inc.
1990 Mervin Aubespin
Associate Editor, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.
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, Mass.
1986 James K. Batten
President, Knight Ridder, Inc.
1985 Barry Bingham Jr.
Editor and Publisher, The Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times
1984 Daniel B. Burke
President and Chief Operating Officer, Capital Cities Broadcasting
1983 Allen H. Neuharth
Chair and President, Gannett Co., Inc.