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As editors of a small weekly newspaper in eastern Kentucky, Tom and Pat Gish have been boycotted and threatened and even had their office destroyed by a firebomb. On October 11 they will be recognized for their courage and their principles when Colby College presents the 49th Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for journalism at an 8 p.m. convocation in Given Auditorium at Colby’s Bixler Art and Music Center.
The Lovejoy award, established in 1952, is presented annually to honor important contributions to the nation’s journalistic achievement and to remember Lovejoy, an 1826 graduate of Colby who was America’s first martyr to freedom of the press. As the 2001 Lovejoy Fellows, the Gishes will receive honorary doctor of laws degrees at the convocation and deliver an address.
The Gishes were selected for their courage in writing about the failures of the War on Poverty, the ravages of strip mining, mine safety, home-loan gouging by eastern Kentucky banks, union leaders’ corruption, police brutality and problems in local schools.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a native of Albion, Maine, was killed on November 7, 1837, in Alton, Ill., defending his abolitionist newspaper against a pro-slavery mob. Recent recipients of the Lovejoy award include Bill Kovach, William Raspberry, Ellen Goodman and David Halberstam.
The Gishes were selected to receive the award by a committee of distinguished newspaper editors chaired by Matthew Storin, recently retired editor of The Boston Globe and including William Hilliard, former executive editor of The Oregonian; Ann Marie Lipinski, editor of The Chicago Tribune; Rena Pederson, editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News; Rebecca Corbett, assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Sun and Colby President William D. Adams.
Members of the selection committee will participate in a panel discussion, “Coverage of the Crisis: The Media Since September 11th,” at 1:30 p.m. on October 11. The event will be in the Robins Room on the second floor of Roberts Building.
Lovejoy Award Web Site