William Allen White National Citation Award

The William Allen White Foundation has been recognizing individuals for outstanding journalistic service since 1950 with the William Allen White National Citation Award, which honors an individual, team or organization whose work in journalism and impact on America exemplifies William Allen White’s highest ideals.
William Allen White Citation medal
William Allen White Citation medal

Although the William Allen White Foundation had been honoring outstanding journalists 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, 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:

For Work In Journalism That Exemplifies

William Allen White’s Highest Ideals By Serving

The Profession And Impacting America

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

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

— Taken from The William Allen White Foundation, May 1980


  • Five Jayhawks are among the William Allen White Citation Award winners. They are marked with asterisks in our website listing.


2024 National Citation Award Recipient Marion County Record

National Citation Recipients, 1950-2024

Columnist, Washington correspondent and executive editor of The New York Times, James B. Reston was one of the most prominent journalists of his era. As a columnist for the New York Times, he offered insightful analysis of national and global events, including Cold War-era tensions between the United States and Soviet Russia and the Nixon administration’s reopening of diplomatic relations with China.

Journalist Ernest K. Lindley extensively covered President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, making a name for himself as the top press authority on the president. Lindley led a full career working for The Herald Tribune, Newsweek magazine as the Washington bureau chief, and The Washington Post as a columnist and reporter. Lindley had a profound effect on other aspects of the journalism profession as well. The “Lindley rule” continues to affect how officials interact with the press and how these interactions are reported. The rule states that information gained from officials can be used without specifically attributing the source. Instead, the journalist relies on their own authority when making these statements.


Erwin D. Canham worked as the chief news executive of The Christian Science Monitor for almost three decades. Canham began his journalistic career at the age of 14 at The Lewiston Sun and Journal as a general reporter when the publication was short-staffed as a result of World War I. During his time at The Christian Science Monitor, Canham worked to cultivate the publication’s commitment to excellence through careful analysis and thoughtful writing.


As editor and publisher of The Denver Post, Palmer Hoyt took a publication still steeped in the decades-old practice of sensationalism and built it into an objective and trustworthy news source. In addition to his revitalization of The Denver Post, Hoyt also made significant contributions at The Oregonian, which was facing financial difficulties at the time. Hoyt briefly worked as the director of the domestic branch of the Office of War Information in 1943 before returning to The Oregonian. Hoyt remained at The Denver Post from 1946 until his retirement in 1971. Throughout his career, he also served as the director of The Associated Press, the Bureau of Advertising and the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

Grove Patterson was the editor-in-chief of the Toledo Blade as well as one of the founders of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Patterson connected with readers through his popular column “Way of the World.” In addition to his journalistic and magazine work, Patterson also wrote his own autobiography, titled “I Like People.” Patterson received a number of honors, including the Order of Isabella and the Gold Cross of Merit, which are the highest decoration and civilian decorations of the Spanish and Polish governments, respectively.

Journalist Norman E. Isaacs was a respected newspaper editor who worked as the managing editor of The Louisville Times and served as the president of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association when he received the William Allen White National Citation Award. Isaacs later spoke out against the Nixon administration’s treatment of the press while serving as the president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Journalist Roy A. Roberts began working for The Kansas City Star as a newspaper delivery boy. He retired from The Star 56 years later as the publication’s chairman of the board. Roberts attended the University of Kansas and studied journalism until he left to accept a position at The Lawrence World to support his family. Throughout his career, Roberts worked in a number of capacities at The Star, including in the sports department and at the publication’s Washington bureau. He later served as a member of The Kansas City Star company’s board of directors and as the managing editor. Roberts had a reputation for being politically knowledgeable and was known for maintaining connections with Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Irving Dilliard was an editorial writer who wrote over 10,000 editorials throughout the course of his career, many of which decried social injustices. Dilliard was the editorial page writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and was regarded as an expert on the Supreme Court and Constitution.

Journalist Jenkin Lloyd Jones was the publisher and editor of The Tulsa Tribune for over 40 years. Jones started the well-known “The Rambler” column at The Tulsa Tribune, which was at one time published in an estimated 150 newspapers across the country. In addition to his journalistic career, he also served as the 42nd president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and later as the chairman of the board. Jones also served as a director of the William Allen White Foundation.

Journalist Ben Hibbs served as the editor of The Saturday Evening Post. Hibbs attended the University of Kansas and worked at The Daily Kansan before holding a number of positions with newspapers including The Fort Morgan Evening Times, The Pratt Daily Tribune, The Arkansas City Daily Traveler and later The Saturday Evening Post. In addition to his work as a journalist, Hibbs advised the Office of War Information as part of a panel of editors and was later nominated as a member of the United States Advisory Committee on Information.

Journalist Jules Dubois was renowned for his coverage of Latin American events and firm defense of press freedoms from censorship. Dubois faced severe backlash, specifically in Cuba, for his reporting. He reported for both The Herald Tribune and The Chicago Tribune throughout his career. Dubois was also the longtime chairman of the Inter-American Press Association’s freedom of the press committee.

Pulitzer-winning journalist and publisher Hodding Carter II was a civil rights advocate who strongly denounced racism through his writing. A series of editorials he published in his paper The Delta Democrat-Times, which addressed racial and religious intolerance, earned him the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

Journalist Bernard Kilgore was largely responsible for growing The Wall Street Journal from a once-small publication into the national business publication it is known as today. Kilgore also worked as the president of Dow Jones & Co.

Paul Miller’s work was a driving force behind the growth of newspaper publishing company Gannett, which became the largest newspaper group in the United States by the time of his death. During his time as Gannett’s president and chief executive officer, the group acquired 34 new daily newspapers. His later appointment as chairman furthered this growth. At the time of his retirement, Miller had served for several years as chairman of The Associated Press in addition to serving as the chairman of Gannett.

Investigative reporter Clark R. Mollenhoff covered a variety of governmental affairs-adjacent topics during his time as an investigative correspondent for Cowleds Publications. Mollenhoff received the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on the topic of corrupt labor practices. He additionally served for a brief time as a special counsel to former President Richard  Nixon.

Earl J. Johnson served as editor for United Press International for over three decades. Johnson held a reputation for cultivating many prominent journalists, including 1969 National Citation Award winner Walter Cronkite. He attended the University of Kansas while working as a correspondent for the morning Journal and the evening Post — both Kansas City-based publications — in addition to The United Press. His dedication to and passion for journalism served as an inspiring force for his writers.

Publisher Gardner Cowles Jr. established a number of magazines over the course of his career. He also served as the deputy director of the Office of War Information during World War II before returning to publishing. Cowles’ influence greatly increased as he published general-interest magazine Look. The publication provided an early spotlight on the civil rights movement.

Journalist Wes Gallagher was the general manager, chief executive and president of The Associated Press. Gallagher worked at a time when there was a new shift in journalism toward dispatches that were longer and provided analysis beyond just the immediate facts. He emphasized objectivity within foreign news, specifically during the Vietnam War.

Publisher and journalist Mark F. Etheridge served as the publisher of The Louisville Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times for nearly three decades, building the publications national reputations during that time. Early in his career, he also worked for The Associated Press and The Washington Post as the associate editor and assistant general manager, respectively. Ethridge frequently spoke out on the editorial page against racism and specifically racist systems embedded in American systems, such as poll taxes.

Journalist and news anchor Walter Cronkite became a household name as anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.” He became known as “the most trusted man in America” while reporting on some of the largest stories of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to the William Allen White National Citation Award, Cronkite received many honors, including an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Publisher Eugene C. Pulliam owned and operated 47 newspapers during the course of his career. At the time Pulliam received the award, he was the publisher of the Phoenix Republic and Gazette.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Vermont Royster served as the Washington bureau chief and editor of The Wall Street Journal for over a decade. He continued as a columnist after his retirement. Royster received two Pulitzers for his editorials, the first in 1953 and the second in 1984. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom under former President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

Journalist and publisher John S. Knight grew Knight Newspapers — later Knight Ridder — into one of the largest newspaper chains in the United States. Prior to its purchase by McClatchy in 2006, Knight Ridder was the second-largest news publisher in the country. Over 80 Pulitzers were won by Knight Ridder-owned publications.

Barry Bingham Sr. was the owner of major newspapers the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times, two radio stations, a television station, and the Standard Gravure printing company for over three decades. The news publications carried reputations for independence and fairness — a reflection of Bingham’s own values.

 Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger transformed The New York Times Company over his nearly 35 years as chairman and chief executive. Sulzberger focused on expanding the impact and scope of the publication as well as the wider company, which grew into an empire with ownership in the newspaper, magazine, radio and television industries, as well as online. Sulzberger stressed the importance of independent journalism, which became apparent with his decision for The New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler guided the publication out of a time of public ridicule and made it into one of the most widely known and trusted papers in the United States. Under Chandler’s 20 years of leadership, the Los Angeles Times won nine Pulitzers and doubled its circulation.

Journalist Peter Lisagor served as the chief of the Washington Bureau of the Chicago Daily News. Lisagor also regularly appeared as a panelist on Meet the Press, Face the Nation and Public Television’s Washington Week in Review, in addition to his radio commentary and special broadcasting work.

Clayton Kirkpatrick transformed The Chicago Tribune from a publication rife with partisan reporting to one of honest and fair coverage. Kirkpatrick worked as the editor of the Tribune for 10 years, followed by two years as president and chief executive of the Tribune Company.

Financial columnist Sylvia Porter was a voice for economic education and was author of many books on economic concepts and practices. At times in the early years of her career, she wrote under the name S.F. Porter to hide that she was a woman in a male-dominated field. Porter was a frequent critic of economic policies that she saw as “economic injustice.”

Journalist Eugene C. Patterson served as editor of The Atlanta Constitution and championed progressive politics at a time when the civil rights movement was sweeping the nation. He focused on events of suffering and injustice to illustrate the heart of the civil rights movement for an international audience. He later worked as managing editor for The Washington Post and co-led the newsroom with journalist Benjamin C. Bradlee when the publication published the Pentagon Papers, following The New York Times’ decision.

Journalist Keith Fuller spent his nine years as president of The Associated Press increasing its stake in international journalism while simultaneously increasing circulation within the United States by nearly 20 percent. Fuller was The Associated Press bureau chief in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the desegregation of Central High School.

PBS anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer co-hosted the first hourlong TV news broadcast in the United States for over a decade. The broadcast began as the Robert MacNeil Report with Lehrer working as a correspondent. Later, the broadcast was renamed as the MacNeil-Lehrer Report and later became known as the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.

Pulitzer-winning journalist Lee Hills’ leadership contributed to the Miami Herald winning its first Pulitzer. Hills facilitated the merger of Knight Newspapers Inc. and Ridder Publications Inc., later presiding over the newly formed newspaper group as its first chairman and chief executive. Hills was awarded two Pulitzers over the course of his career, the first of which was awarded in 1951 to the Miami Herald for public service. His second Pulitzer was awarded in 1956 for local reporting.

Journalist Stuart Awbrey worked for a number of Kansas publications throughout his career, including the News-Herald in Hutchinson, the Garden City Telegram and the Burlington Hawk Eye Gazette. At the time of his retirement, Awbrey had been serving as the editor and publisher of the Hawk Eye Gazette.

Eugene L. Roberts Jr. served as the managing editor of The New York Times and the executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer won 17 Pulitzers during his time with the publication.

Helen Thomas was a longtime member of the White House press corps, spanning the administrations of 10 presidents—from Kennedy to Obama. Thomas was the first woman officer of the National Press Club, the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club. 

John C. Quinn was an American journalist, former president of Gannett Company, and former editor-in-chief of USA Today.

Paul Greenberg was a columnist and editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for the Pine Bluff Commercial in 1969.

Charles Bishop Kuralt was an American journalist. He is most widely known for his long career with CBS, first for his "On the Road" segments on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, and later as the first anchor of CBS News Sunday Morning, a position he held for 15 years.

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."

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 persevered and was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Georgia. She was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2005.

Louis Boccardi was president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press. He also served in numerous posts, including executive vice president, chief operating officer, and executive editor in charge of news operations.

George F. Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator and best-selling author who writes regular syndicated columns for The Washington Post and provides commentary for NBC News and MSNBC. 

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. He is currently retired.

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. She was awarded the Pulitzer for Commentary in 1980. Goodman still writes pieces for publication in addition to hosting a podcast and traveling as a public speaker.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and executive producer Hedrick Smith 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. Smith's first Pulitzer was awarded in 1971 while he worked as The New York Times' chief diplomatic correspondent on the team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. His second came three years later for international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe.

David S. Broder wrote for The Washington Post for over 40 years. Broder reported on every presidential campaign for more than a half-century. He was also an author, television news show pundit and university lecturer.

Bill Kurtis, a 1962 graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is a television journalist, producer, narrator and news anchor. He was also the host of a number of A&E crime and news documentary shows, including Investigative Reports, American Justice, and Cold Case Files. He was also the beloved announcer for National Public Radio's news comedy/quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Today, Albert R. Hunt is a mainstay on the political talk show circuit. His appearances are the A-list of talk television: CNN's Capitol Gang, NBC's Meet the Press, PBS's Washington Week in Review, and the CBS Morning News.

Along with reporter Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward was half of one of the most famous reporting teams in history. The team from The Washington Post, occasionally called "Woodstein," uncovered an elaborate plot to re-elect President Richard Nixon in 1972 that would become known as Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein received a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1973.

Molly Ivins was a newspaper columnist who focused heavily on politics and holding politicians accountable. She was known for her lively prose and humorous approach to criticism.

Cokie Roberts was the chief congressional analyst for ABC News, covering politics, Congress and public policy. Roberts also served as a news analyst for National Public Radio, where she was the congressional correspondent for more than ten years. In addition, Roberts was the former co-anchor of This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts.

Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. is the former publisher and chairman of The New York Times Company. During his time as publisher, Sulzberger Jr. changed The New York Times from a black and white publication to color and later aided its move to online. The Times won 61 Pulitzers during Sulzberger Jr.'s time with the publication.

Marlin Fitzwater spent a decade in the front row of history as press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Today he is an author and lecturer whose presidential anecdotes, political analysis and television commentary have received worldwide attention.

Gerald F. Seib is a 1978 graduate of the KU School of Journalism and the Wall Street Journal executive Washington editor. He also writes the paper’s “Capital Journal” column on a weekly basis and is a regular commentator on Washington affairs for CNBC, cable television.

Gordon Parks was a prominent photographer that was a central figure in the 20th century photography scene. Born in Kansas in 1912, Parks found ways to challenge the racism he regularly faced through his photography and activism. He later explored other creative outlets and expanded his roles to include director, novelist, musician and poet.

Richard C. Clarkson is a 1956 School of Journalism graduate and nationally-celebrated photojournalist. He has held the positions of director of photography and senior assistant editor with The National Geographic Society in addition to regularly working as a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated, Time and Life. Some of Clarkson's more prominent work comes from photographing seven summer and one winter Olympics, including organizing all picture coverage of the event for Time in both 1972 and 1976, as well as Sports Illustrated in 1980. He was named by American Photo Magazine as one of the 50 most influential individuals in American photography.

Journalist Seymour Hersh has held a focus in investigative journalism, politics and national security throughout his career. Hersh’s journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for exposing the My Lai massacre and cover up during the Vietnam War, in 1969. He has also received five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

Tom Curley is the former president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press. He was the 12th person to head The AP since its founding in 1846 and served for nine years before retiring in 2012. Curley was also one of the original news staffers of USA Today at the time of its founding.

Journalist and novelist 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. Pitts was awarded the Pulitzer for Commentary in 2004. His book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood, was released in May 1999 and his first novel, Before I Forget, was released in March 2009.

Pulitzer Prize-winning editor John S. Carroll directed coverage throughout his career that garnered both the public's attention and several awards. During his time as the editor of The Los Angeles Times, the publication won 13 Pulitzers. Carroll also served on the Pulitzer Prize Board for nine years and was the board's chairman in 2002.

Candy Crowley is an award-winning journalist who served as CNN’s chief political correspondent and the host of its Sunday morning talk show State of the Union with Candy Crowley, a political hour of interviews and analysis of the week’s most important issues. She covered presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections and major legislative developments on Capitol Hill for more than two decades. 

Author and commentator Frank Deford was the author of 18 books of both fiction and nonfiction, including his memoir, Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter. Deford was among the most versatile of American journalists. On radio, he was heard as a commentator every Wednesday Morning Edition on National Public Radio. On television, he was senior correspondent on the HBO show Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. In magazine, he was senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated

Paul Steiger was the founding editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica. Before his work at ProPublica, Steiger was managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2007, during which members of the newsroom staff were awarded 16 Pulitzer Prizes. In addition, ProPublica reporters received the first Pulitzer Prizes for online journalism in May 2010 and 2011.

Bob Dotson is a 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 a 1968 graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Gwen Ifill was moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour.” Ifill interviewed national and international newsmakers and reported on issues ranging from foreign affairs to U.S. politics. She covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates. Ifill received more than 20 honorary doctorates and served on the boards of the News Literacy Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists. She also wrote a best-selling book, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

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 previously worked as xecutive editor of The Associated Press.

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 retired in 2021. Newsrooms under his leadership have won 17 Pulitzer Prizes, including 10 at The Post.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, is chief medical correspondent for CNN. He plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news and regularly contributes to CNN.com.

Kevin Merida became executive editor of the Los Angeles Times in 2021, overseeing a newsroom of over 550 journalists and the L.A. Times Studios division. The combined organization provides round-the-clock coverage on latimes.com, publishes a daily print edition, co-produces an Emmy-winning daily TV news magazine, and creates original podcasts each week.

The Marion County Record was named the best in Kansas for overall news and writing in a contest for a third consecutive year against other midsize weekly and daily newspapers judged by out-of-state journalists in April 2023. The family-owned, small-town Kansas newspaper has long been known for practicing fearless and independent journalism. It is the first time in the foundation's history that the award was presented to an organization rather than an individual.