MU journalism school names honor medal recipients

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Two Columbia residents are among the journalism advocates and professionals named winners of the 2009 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

The award will be given to six individual honorees and to Slate, a daily online magazine, on Oct. 20 at the Reynolds Alumni Center in Columbia, according to a news release.

Columbia residents Doug Crews, executive director of the Missouri Press Association, and Rod Gelatt, professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism, will both receive the award.

Crews graduated from MU and has served in numerous leadership positions in the industry, including positions with the Newspaper Association Managers and the National Newspaper Association. He joined the Missouri Press Association in 1979 as assistant director and was named executive director in 1990.

Gelatt influenced many of the world's top radio-television journalists during his more than 45 years of service with the Missouri School of Journalism. He received the Chancellor's Faculty Retiree Award in 2008 and served as the president of the MU Retirees Association from 2006 to 2007.

The four other honorees are Mazhar Abbas, a press freedom fighter in Pakistan; Rance Crain, president of Crain Communications Inc. and editor-in-chief of Advertising Age; Deborah Howell, editor and ombudsman; and photojournalist Bill Eppridge.

During his 27-year career as a journalist, Abbas risked his life to promote the democracy of journalism in Pakistan and received the 2007 International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Crain has been in advertising and media for more than 30 years. As editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, he created many titles, most notably Crain's Chicago Business and Crain's New York Business.

Howell joined the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1979 and became the vice-president and editor. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes and was a finalist seven times during her time there. From 2005 to 2008, she was an ombudsman for the Washington Post. She is now a consultant at Advance.

An MU graduate, Eppridge has been a photographer for publications such as Life, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. He photographed many memorable moments, including the Beatles' first United States appearance and the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy.

The Missouri School of Journalism faculty selected all of the winners based on their lifetime success in journalism. The honor has been awarded since 1930 to more than 425 recipients.

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