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Press Club of Dallas reboots reporting awards


Press Club of Dallas president Scott Goldstein (right) and Hugh Aynesworth, for whom the organization’s new awards are named. Photo: Ed Bark

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The Press Club of Dallas’ annual awards for excellence in journalism officially returned to the living Wednesday with a call for entries.

They’ll now be known as the Hughies, in honor of longtime Press Club member and esteemed reporter Hugh Aynesworth, best known for his exhaustive coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and its aftermath. For starters, the only category will be investigative/enterprise journalism for the calendar year 2016.

“We’ve taken to calling the award the ‘Hughie’ with both respect and affection,” said Press Club president Scott Goldstein, who’s also chief of policy and communications for Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings. Goldstein said the Club hoped to expand to more categories in future years. This year’s competition will be statewide and open to electronic, print and online journalists. Entrant categories also will be defined by market or circulation sizes.

Formed in 1948, the Press Club had a long tradition of honoring Texas journalists at an annual Katie Awards event. But the awards were rocked by scandal after the 2006 ceremony, when it was discovered that former Press Club president Elizabeth Albanese had rigged the voting and awarded numerous Katies to herself over a three-year period. The 2007 Katie ceremony was canceled as a result before the awards were briefly revived in 2008 for their 50th anniversary. The Katies then vanished.

Previous Press Club president Frank Librio announced the intent to revive the awards at last June’s North Texas Legends event, which honors career achievement in journalism.

“The actions of one rogue person do not define our club,” he told a packed house at the downtown Dallas Sixth Floor Museum. The Press Club has held the Living Legends event since 2011, with 82 honorees to date.

Since September of 2015, the Press Club also has held events featuring retired WFAA8 investigative reporter Byron Harris; a quintet of trailblazing Dallas meteorologists; Texas native and venerated CBS News anchor-reporter Bob Schieffer; and the Dallas Cowboys radio team of Brad Sham, Babe Laufenberg and Kristi Scales.

The entry deadline for the first annual Hughies is April 15th, with a $55 submission fee. An official date for the awards ceremony hasn’t been set yet. Judges will all be from outside Texas, Goldstein said.

Compete information on the awards and how to enter are at pressclubdallas.com.

Note to readers: Ed Bark is a second-year member of the Press Club of Dallas board.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net