By Meredith Kreigh
Alex Green received the 2013 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for publishing a story about the circumstances surrounding Dr. David Morgan’s arrest and resignation.
After only two months as Bryan Triangle’s Editor-in-Chief, Green learned the bigger story behind Morgan’s resignation and made an executive decision to report it. Using his own money and time, Green published and distributed fliers detailing the story.
Ancil Payne, a Seattle broadcaster, said he established the Payne Awards to “honor the journalist of integrity and character who reports with insight and clarity in the face of political or economic pressures and to reward performance that inspires public trust in the media.”
The description on the University of Oregon’s website goes on to say that the award may be presented to journalists for a courageous act or for making a decision that is often, otherwise, unseen by the public eye.
“We applaud not only his courage in reporting the story but the thought process he shared with us about his ordeal,” said Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication and chair of the judging panel.
“The thoughtful and sophisticated way in which Alex approached the story and the resulting fallout is above and beyond what we might typically expect from a student journalist,” Gleason continued.
Green received a voicemail from Zanne Miller, the special projects manager at the University of Oregon, after choosing to not accept because he did not recognize the area code. After about an hour, he remembered that April 1, the day’s date, was the date of the judging. He returned her call while on the way to his girlfriend Stephanie’s house.
Green said he was sure that he did not win. But when Miller picked up the phone, she immediately said, “I am so glad that you called me back.” She then informed Green that he was the lone winner of this year’s award, he said.
His first call was to Carpenter. He laughed, Green said.
The judging panel for the award included editors from The Oregonian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Times, The Salt Lake Tribune and Willamette Week, as well as two professors from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and one from Utah State University judged the competition.
On Facebook, Twitter and in person, Green is quick to pay it forward to the people who supported him, thanking them for their input and constancy. Special thanks go to Anna Kat Thomas and Daniel Jackson who stood by him from the beginning. Had either of them been in his position, they would have handled it well and ethically, said Green.
Green also thanked Professors of Communications John Carpenter and Dr. Randy Hollingsworth. Both of them paid special attention and took extra care in the weeks that followed Green’s story, he said.
Green will receive his award on Thursday, May 9 at the University of Oregon. The University is paying for his flight to and from Oregon, as well as for his lodging while he is there. Green fell to his knees in Stephanie’s yard when he was told that, he said.
Green said he is proud for Carpenter and the journalism department, as a whole.
“It is as much an award them as for me,” said Green.