William Allen White Award

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

2021 National Citation Award recipient Martin Baron

Martin Baron, retired executive editor of The Washington Post, accepted the National Citation award on April 21, 2021, in a Zoom event that included an address by Baron and Q&A. The recording is below:

Previous winners

Name Picture Brief Summary
Leonard Pitts
Leonard Pitts, Jr. joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. Since 1994, he has penned a syndicated column of commentary on pop culture, social issues and family life. His book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood, was released in May, 1999 and was reissued in paperback in 2006. In March of 2009, he published his first novel, Before I Forget.
John S. Carroll
John S. Carroll, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, received the William Allen White Foundation's 2011 national citation at a public ceremony Feb. 11 in the Kansas Union. He gave a speech titled "Ideology in a Hurricane" at the public ceremony.
Candy Crowley
Candy Crowley is CNN's award-winning chief political correspondent and anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, a political hour of newsmaker interviews and analysis of the week’s most important issues. Crowley took the reins of State of the Union in February 2010. In her role as chief political correspondent, Crowley covers a broad range of stories, including presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races and major legislative developments on Capitol Hill.
Frank Deford
Frank Deford is an author and commentator. He wrote more than a dozen books, including his New York Times best seller, his memoir, "Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter." He also was known for his National Public Radio commentaries.
Paul Steiger
Paul Steiger was the founding editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica from 2008 through 2012. As executive chairman beginning in 2013, he remains actively involved in strategic issues, development, representing ProPublica in public venues, and consulting with management on business and editorial issues as needed.
Bob Dotson
Bob Dotson is television journalist and New York Times bestselling author. His long-running series, "The American Story with Bob Dotson," was a regular feature on the NBC "Today" Show for 40 years. He is 1968 graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.
Gwen Ifill
Gwen Ifill was moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour.”
Sally Buzbee
Sally Buzbee, 1988 graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, received the William Allen White Foundation National Citation Award in 2019. Sally Buzbee was named executive editor of The Washington Post in May 2021, and before that she was executive editor of The Associated Press.
Martin Baron
Martin Baron became executive editor of The Washington Post in 2013, overseeing the newspaper’s print and digital news operations and a staff of more than 800 journalists. He retiredin 202. Newsrooms under his leadership have won 17 Pulitzer Prizes, including 10 at The Post.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Dr. Sanjay Gupta has won multiple Emmy awards as chief medical correspondent for CNN and host of the CNN podcast “Chasing Life.” He is a practicing neurosurgeon and plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news and regularly contributes to CNN.com.



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