Campus News

Nominations Are Being Taken for James Madison Award


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 1, 2011) — The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications is inviting nominations for its annual James Madison Award to recognize a Kentuckian for outstanding service to the First Amendment.  The award, created in 2006, honors the nation’s fourth president, whose extraordinary efforts led to the passage and ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Nominees must have significant ties to Kentucky, and their efforts must have resulted in the preservation or expansion of freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech.  Dedication to the First Amendment principle of free expression is not accomplished in a day’s work but rather a lifetime.  Thus the award recognizes a long-term commitment to such ideals.

The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2011.

Honorees do not have to be journalists.  The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center encourages recognition of those outside the journalism profession for their contributions to protect or expand First Amendment freedoms.  Nominees may include, for example, educators, lawyers, judges, scholars, librarians, students or ordinary citizens.  The most deserving recipient will be someone who has made a significant contribution regardless of how much public attention it has received. 

The Madison Award will recognize those who have labored or taken a stand in one or more of these areas: open government and open records; robust debate in the marketplace of ideas; promotion of the watchdog role of the press; or defense against government or private censorship. 

The nominator must submit a letter identifying the nominee, listing the nominee’s address, phone number and position, and explaining why the nominee would be a worthy recipient. The letter should detail the specific efforts taken on behalf of First Amendment rights and should discuss obstacles and difficulties as well as the impact of the nominee’s efforts. The nominator may include up to three letters of support as well as other materials such as published or broadcast information.

Entries will be reviewed by a committee that will include previous winners and the director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center.  The committee will have the option of not selecting a recipient if it does not believe any candidate is deserving.

Nominees who meet the award criteria but are not selected initially will automatically be considered for two more years. The award will be presented at the Scripps Center's annual First Amendment Celebration.

Past winners were Judith Clabes, founder of UK’s First Amendment Center and a strong supporter of a free press as a newspaper editor and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation; Jon Fleischaker, the Commonwealth’s foremost media law attorney; veteran Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus, who has used public records extensively to expose government corruption; and David Hawpe, retired Courier-Journal reporter and editor who fought relentlessly to open records and meetings while using the newspaper’s editorial page as a bully pulpit for open government. The 2010 recipient was John Nelson, managing editor of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and executive editor of Advocate Communications Inc., who was recognized for organizing a statewide open records audit, fighting for opening juvenile and family courts to the public and serving on the legal defense committee for members of the Kentucky Press Association.

The postmark deadline for nominations is July 31, 2011.  Nominations should be sent to Janice Birdwhistell, the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, 308c Lucille Little Library Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0024.

For more information, contact Mike Farrell, director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at (859) 257-4848, or