[Advisory Board] [Sponsorship]

James K. Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism

The final year for the Batten Awards for Excellence in Civic Journalism was 2002. For information on the successor awards, the Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, which begin in 2003 and are sponsored by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, visit http://www.j-lab.org/batten.html.

Check out the winners of the Batten Awards for Civic Journalism as well as symposia highlights from 1995 to 2002.

This award is an annual $25,000 cash award to print or electronic journalists whose work supports people's involvement in the life of their community.

Well before the current interest in civic journalism, one journalist began talking about how the media needed to change, to begin once again reconnecting to citizens. The late Jim Batten, as chairman and chief executive of Knight-Ridder Inc., talked about how journalism could be a vital building block in revitalizing citizenship -- while maintaining its ability to tell hard truths.

"I think we need to cultivate a journalistic ethic that celebrates the magic of writers and editors and photographers and artists who are blessed with the gift of connecting -- not just wafting self-indulgent messages out of the newsroom's door," Jim Batten said in a seminal speech on April 3, 1989, at the University of California, Riverside. That address outlines much of the philosophy of what has come to be known as civic journalism.

Batten's vision helped to move forward the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, enabling it to work with news organizations around the country in experimenting with ways to connect better with citizens.

To honor Batten and his journalistic ideals, The Pew Charitable Trusts established the James K. Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism with an accompanying symposium to educate journalists and spotlight some of the best civic journalism efforts in the country. The Trusts have directed $25,000 a year to the award program.

Batten Award Advisory Board

Jeannine Guttman
Executive Editor/VP
The Portland Newspapers

Teresa M. Hanafin
Editorial Director

Amy McCombs
Former President and General Manager

W. Davis Merritt
Former Editor
The Wichita Eagle

John X. Miller
Public Editor
Detroit Free Press

Bill Mitchell
Online Editor
The Poynter Institute

Jack Nelson
Former Chief Washington Correspondent
Los Angeles Times

Joe Ritchie
Knight Professor in Journalism
Florida A&M University

Jan Schaffer
Executive Director
Pew Center for Civic Journalism

Steve Smith
The Spokesman-Review

Terence Smith
Media Correspondent, Senior Producer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Mizell Stewart, III
Managing Editor
Tallahassee Democrat


The James K. Batten Award Program is a project of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which is an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Center maintains responsibility for the program's impartiality and integrity.

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