James Madison Award

Scripps Howard First Amendment Center takes applications for James Madison Award

By Beth Barnes
Special to KyForward

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two of the linchpins of American democracy. The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information annually recognizes a Kentuckian who has made an outstanding contribution to the First Amendment.

The James Madison Award, created in 2006, honors the nation’s fourth president, whose extraordinary efforts led to the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Nominees must have significant ties to Kentucky, and their efforts must have resulted in the preservation or expansion of freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech. The award recognizes a long-term commitment to these ideals.

Kentucky New Era opinions editor Jennifer Brown, left, and publisher Taylor Hayes are pictured at the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center event. Brown was the 2013 winner of the James Madison Award. (Photo from UK)
Kentucky New Era opinions editor Jennifer Brown, left, and publisher Taylor Hayes are pictured at the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center event. Brown was the 2013 winner of the James Madison Award. (Photo from UK)

The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center encourages recognition of those outside the journalism profession for their contributions to protect or expand First Amendment freedoms. Nominees may include, for example, educators, lawyers, judges, scholars, librarians, students or ordinary citizens.

The Madison Award recognizes those who have labored or taken a stand in one or more of these areas: open government and open records; robust debate in the marketplace of ideas; promotion of the watchdog role of the press; defense against government or private censorship.

The nominator must submit a letter identifying the nominee, listing the nominee’s address, phone number and position, and explaining why the nominee would be a worthy recipient. The letter should detail the specific efforts taken on behalf of First Amendment rights and should discuss obstacles and difficulties as well as the impact of the nominee’s efforts. The nominator may include up to three letters of support as well as other materials such as published or broadcast information.

Entries will be reviewed by a committee that will include previous winners and the director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center. The committee will have the option of not selecting a recipient if it does not believe any candidate is deserving.

Past winners were Jennifer P. Brown, opinions editor of The Kentucky New Era, a tireless advocate for open government who has fostered a culture of watchdog journalism at the New Era; Judith Clabes, founder of UK’s First Amendment Center, editor and publisher of KyForward.com, and a strong supporter of a free press as a newspaper editor and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation; Jon Fleischaker, the Commonwealth’s foremost media law attorney; veteran Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus, who has used public records extensively to expose government corruption; David Hawpe, retired Courier-Journal reporter and editor who fought relentlessly to open records and meetings; John Nelson, managing editor of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and executive editor of Advocate Communications Inc., who was recognized for, among other activities, organizing a statewide open records audit; veteran newsman Al Smith, whose KET public affairs program, “Comment on Kentucky,” informed the state’s citizens on government issues affecting them; retired media law attorney Kim Greene, who fought many fights for open government for media clients she represented.

Nominations should be sent to Mike Farrell, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, 220 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0042, or emailed to farrell@uky.edu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*