Journalism awards given to local media members

by Dan Berglund

For Judith Borger, one of many St. Paul Pioneer Press reporters who helped uncover academic misconduct in the University men’s basketball program, the eighth consecutive Premack award for her paper did not come as a surprise.
“Everyone is pleased,” said Borger, “but the most important thing is we’re doing our part to inform the public.”
Borger and her colleagues were awarded the Metro-Daily Newspaper Award, one of four Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards announced last week. The awards are presented to daily and weekly papers that best serve their community and region.
Along with the Pioneer Press, the Rochester Post-Bulletin was recognized with the George S. Hage Award for rural Minnesota newspapers, the Southwest Journal with the Weekly Newspaper Award, and Joe Rigert of the Star Tribune with the Graven Award, which recognizes excellence in the journalism profession.
According to Kathy Hansen, director of the Minnesota Journalism Center, which sponsors the Premack awards, the awards are highly regarded by their recipients.
“Unlike other awards, there’s only one winner per category each year,” said Hansen. Many other awards, she said, have either a runner-up or a tie.
In addition, the selection of the award is made by a panel of citizen judges who represent arts, education, law, politics and journalism in the Twin Cities area.
“We wanted to have a cross-section of the community to judge the nominees,” said George Farr, Premack Memorial Board chairman. “This has allowed our award to take a different look at journalism.”
The awards are named in honor of Frank Premack, a reporter and editor at the Minneapolis Tribune, who died of a heart attack in 1975. Following his death, his family decided the award’s establishment was the best way to serve his memory.
“Frank Premack had a passion for public affairs journalism,” said Hansen. “Naming the award after him was an expression of respect from his family and peers.”
The awards will be presented April 10 in the West Bank’s Cowles Auditorium as part of the Frank Premack Memorial Lecture and Awards program.
The topic of this year’s lecture, “What is Journalism For?” will be presented by Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism in Washington, D.C.
Farr said the ceremony will be much like gatherings at the Premack household before his death, when journalists would converge to discuss current events and trends in journalism.

Dan Berglund welcomes comments at [email protected].