SPLC joins UGA’s Grady College in recognizing outstanding student watchdog journalism


Contact: Frank D. LoMonte, executive director
(703) 807-1905 / director@splc.org

In conjunction with Sunshine Week 2014, the Student Press Law Center announced Thursday that it is joining the University of Georgia journalism school in presenting an annual award recognizing outstanding college journalism, with an emphasis on reporting that makes use of public records.

Submissions are now being accepted for the Betty Gage Holland Award for excellence in college journalism. The Holland Award recognizes campus journalists and their publications for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses.

The annual award is co-sponsored by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the SPLC. It honors the late Betty Gage Holland, long-time friend of journalism education at the University of Georgia.

An award of $1,000 is made to the winning journalist(s) and an additional $1,000 to the sponsoring news organization. The prize and winning entry are featured at the annual Management Seminar for College News Editors held in July at The University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Of special importance to judges are news stories, institutional editorials, personal commentaries or columns that single out for public examination any act that results in distortion or pollution of the public discourse. Use of open records or “sunshine” laws is deemed particularly meritorious if the result is to let the people see the people’s business being done.

Nominations for the award may be made by or on behalf of any journalist(s) regularly enrolled in a university or college at time of publication and also by or on behalf of any campus news organization, whether independent or university supported, that published the pertinent material.

Nominations for the 2013-14 academic year must be submitted no later than June 1, 2014.

Submissions must include: (1) a cover letter of no more than 300 words from the nominated journalist(s) explaining his or her journalistic motive, reporting methods and impact or results of the published material, (2) an endorsement of no more than 300 words by the news organization’s publisher or adviser, and (3) links to all news stories and commentary submitted for consideration (or PDF duplicates, if not published online).

Send nominations and supporting materials electronically in PDF or Word format to cbentley@uga.edu.

Last year’s award went to the staff of the Tan & Cardinal at Ohio’s Otterbein University for their reporting on how the conversion of Otterbein’s campus security force into a full police department in late 2011 had drastically reduced public information provided on campus crime. Previous winners and additional information found at: www.grady.uga.edu/hollandaward.

For more information about the awards, contact:

Cecil Bentley
Assistant Director
Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management & Leadership
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
The University of Georgia