About the Medal

Although the William Allen White Foundation had been recognizing individuals for outstanding journalistic service since 1950, the first William Allen White medallions were not awarded until 1970. Before then, winners of the Award for Outstanding Journalistic Merit received certificates.

In 1969, however, the Foundation, under acting director Lee F. Young and Foundation president Dolph Simons, Jr., commissioned University of Kansas professor of design Elden C. Tefft to design a medallion worthy of representing the prestigious award. The result was a medallion design that carries a portrait of White on the front and this inscription on the back:

An American Journalist Who Exemplifies
William Allen White Ideals In Service
To His Profession And His Community

The name of the individual medal winner is inscribed directly above this standing inscription.

Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Conn., was contracted to manufacture the medallions and to deliver them by Feb. 10, White's birthday, 1970.

The bronze medallion is two-and-one-half inches, and is mounted in a black morocco/blue-lined easel case. A medallion has been presented to all surviving Journalistic Merit winners, including those cited before the creation of the medallion.

— Taken from The William Allen White Foundation, May 1980
Name Picture Brief Summary

Past Recipients
1990
James K. Batten
James K. Batten received the William Allen White Award for Outstanding Journalistic Merit for his civic journalism ideals and practices. In his acceptance speech, Batten expressed concern for the recent decline of civic engagement in communities across the country. He urged journalists to immerse themselves their communities arguing that newspapers "have the best chance for drawing people in from the apathetic periphery to the vibrant center of community life."
1991
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Charlayne Hunter-Gault has built a reputation for being one of broadcast’s premier journalists. She exceeded boundaries throughout her life starting with being the first female African-American student to attend the University of Georgia. Desegregating the university was a struggle, but she perservered and was the first African-American woman to graduate from University of Georgia.
1992
Louis Boccardi
Louis Boccardi is president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press. He has served in this position for the past seventeen years. Boccardi, who has worked for the Associated Press since 1967, has served in numerous posts including executive vice president, chief operating officer, and executive editor in charge of news operations.
1993
George F. Will
George F. Will is an ABC News commentator, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of a syndicated column which appears in more than 450 newspapers and a biweekly column in Newsweek magazine.
1994
Bernard Shaw
Bernard Shaw was known as the principal anchor for the Cable News Network during the 1990s. When he retired in February 2001, he ended a broadcasting career that spanned nearly 40 years. While at CNN, Shaw covered numerous world events. In January 1991, he was one of three reporters who covered the first night of the Allied Coalition bombings of Iraq in "Operation Desert Storm." Shaw also brought CNN viewers 30 hours of continuous live coverage of the Tiananmen Square riots in Beijing in May 1989.
1995
Ellen Goodman
Goodman was born in Boston in 1941. After graduating cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1963, Goodman was hired as a researcher at Newsweek. She became a reporter for the Detroit Free Press in 1965, and then moved to the Boston Globe in 1967.
1996
Hedrick L. Smith
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and executive producer Hedrick Smith has spent more than 40 years as a journalist, during which time he has used his experience abroad to help cultivate a portfolio that includes both documentaries and best-selling books.
1997
David S. Broder
David Broder, the 1997 winner of the William Allen White medal, graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 1947. He earned his master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago in 1951.
1998
Bill Kurtis

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