An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

9 named as honorees of Friends of Daily Texan awards

2016 Friends of The Daily Texan Awards

The nine honorees of the 2016 Friends of The Daily Texan Awards come from all journalistic fields and endeavors, and include a glass ceiling-breaking top female editor, a photojournalist who led photo departments at 6 major metro newspapers and won Two Pulitzer prizes, a beloved reporter-turned-professor who left a lasting impression on all he met and a journalist-turned State Senator who is known for her legislative, public service and professional accomplishments.

The awards are sponsored annually by the Friends of The Daily Texan, a nonprofit group established in 2013 to support journalistic quality and a strong future in a digital world for The Daily Texan, student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin.

The nine recipients of the 2016 awards will be honored at an awards dinner on Sept. 16, in the Santa Rita room of The Texas Union on the UT campus. REGISTER NOW for the ceremony.

This year’s Daily Texan Hall of Fame inductees are

  • Deborah Howell
  • Kaye Northcott
  • Larry Price
  • Mike Quinn
  • Gayle Reaves
  • Senator Judith Zaffirini

The Griff Singer Award recipients are Ron Gibson and Paul J. Thompson.

Rising Star Award recipient is Emma Graves Fitzsimmons.

“Take a moment and read every word of their bios,” said Friends President John Reetz. “In an time when the press faces challenges from every quarter, understanding what these journalists have done, and all journalists are doing, make you appreciate the contribution of journalism to our society, and the importance of The Daily Texan as their launching pad. And even better, come in person to celebrate journalism, Sept.16 at The Union.”

Sen. Don Adams, who was unable to receive his award in 2015, will be honored at this year’s event for his support of a free press, and his selection as 2015 James Madison Award winner by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Sen. Zaffirini will not be able to attend this year’s event, and she will be honored next year.

In addition, attendees will hear from the current editor of The Daily Texan about the paper’s challenges and efforts today. A book sale event featuring the work of former Texan staffers will also be a part of the evening, along with a Silent Auction of Texan-focused memorabilia.

Other speakers will be announced soon.

This is the fourth annual event sponsored by FOTDT.

‘Every year we reach more people, and we look forward to seeing you there. This is not only a time to recognize outstanding journalists, but to gather as a Daily Texan family, re-connect, and also meet other Texan supporters,” Reetz added.

The evening starts with a reception at 6 p.m.

Learn more about this year’s honorees:

The Daily Texan Hall of Fame


Deborah HowellDeborah Howell

One of the first women to become the top editor of a large American newspaper, Deborah Howell followed in the path set by her parents when they met in a newsroom. After working on The Texan and graduating from UT Austin in 1962, she worked for the Austin American-Statesman and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. At age 34, Ms. Howell became city editor of the Minneapolis Star, and four years later moved to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where she would serve as managing editor and executive editor.

While at the Pioneer Press, she oversaw two projects that led to the newspaper winning the first Pulitzer Prizes in its history. In 1986, the newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer for Feature Writing for a five-part series examining the life of an American farm family “faced with the worst U.S. agricultural crisis since the Depression.” In 1988, the newspaper again was awarded the Pulitzer for Feature Writing for a series about the life and death of an AIDS victim in a rural farm community.

In 1990, Ms. Howell became the chief of the Washington Bureau for the Newhouse newspaper chain. Newhouse News Service also won a Pulitzer during her 15 years there. From 2005 to 2008, she served as ombudsman for The Washington Post, and later was a consultant for Advance Publications. She died at age 68 on January 1, 2010.


KayeNorthcottCroppedKaye Northcott

Elected editor of The Texan in 1965, at a time when the Vietnam War was escalating, Kaye Northcott wrote editorials in opposition to the war. This did not go over well with Frank Erwin, a member (and soon to be chairman) of the UT Board of Regents and a National Democratic Committeeman. Mr. Erwin did not think The Texan should criticize the policies of President Johnson. The ensuing year gave Ms. Northcott many lessons in Texas politics. In the end, Mr. Erwin failed to censor The Texan, but he did influence Ms. Northcott’s political and journalistic values for the rest of her career.
Like fellow Texan editors (and Texan Hall of Famers) Ronnie Dugger and Willie Morris before her, it was a natural progression for Ms. Northcott to become associate editor and then editor of the Texas Observer. After nine years there, she spent several years freelancing and honing her writing skills.
In 1986, Ms. Northcott went to work in the Austin Bureau of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and then moved to Fort Worth to become an editor. In 2000, she became associate editor and then editor of Texas Coop Power, a cooperatively based magazine with a circulation of 1.2 million, and served there for 10 years.


Larry PriceLarry Price

Since serving as a Texan photographer in 1976 and 1977, Larry Price has worked as a photographer and director of photography for six metropolitan newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Denver Post. Mr. Price won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography for coverage of the coup in Liberia.
For The Philadelphia Inquirer he won a 1985 Pulitzer for documenting the civil wars in Angola and El Salvador. In 2015, he and the PBS NewsHour team received an Emmy award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism.
Mr. Price has been honored by the Pictures of the Year Awards, the Overseas Press Club, the World Press Photo Awards, the Pan American Press Association and the Society of News Design. He also has participated in 13 “Day in the Life” book projects, including the acclaimed “Day in the Life of America” and “Day in the Life of Africa.”


MIke QuinnMike Quinn

Mike Quinn wielded enormous influence over his students and colleagues during 37 years at the UT Austin School of Journalism, the Moody College of Communication, the UT Austin administration and the UT System.
His roots were planted earlier at The Texan, when he first enrolled at UT Austin in 1953 after serving as an Army journalist during the Korean War. He was sports editor and managing editor at The Texan. After two stints with The Dallas Morning News as a recognized political and governmental reporter, he returned to UT Austin in 1966 as a professor. He also served on the former Texas Students Publication Board. Quinn earned journalism and law degrees at UT.
He also earned the respect of students. Some rose to such jobs as publisher of the Wall Street Journal, managing editor of BusinessWeek and editor of the Houston Chronicle, as well as hundreds of other positions at magazines and newspapers. They helped create the J. Michael Quinn Scholarship Fund in his memory at the UT School of Journalism. John Michael Quinn Jr. died at age 76 on Jan. 22, 2006.


Gayle-Reaves-5676_resizedGayle Reaves

For almost three decades, Gayle Reaves covered stories around the world for major daily papers and then moved to the award-winning Fort Worth Weekly alternative newspaper, where she was editor from 2001 to 2015. Her honors include the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting, received in 1994 as part of a team at The Dallas Morning News, and a 1991 George Polk Award for courageous regional journalism for a series on how drug trafficking affected two Texas counties.
Ms. Reaves is now a freelance editor and reporter whose recent work has appeared in the Texas Observer and American Way magazine. She also teaches journalism at the University of North Texas and is working with co-authors on a nonfiction book called Dividing the Baby. Her poetry chapbook Spectral Analysis was published in 2015.
She is a former national president of the Journalism and Women Symposium and current vice president and a former president of the Fort Worth pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She received a BA and BJ from UT Austin in 1973, during which time she was a Texan reporter. She also received an MJ from the University of North Texas in 2015.


ZaffiriniSenator Judith Zaffirini

While a journalism and speech education major at UT Austin from 1965 to 1967, Judith Zaffirini wrote a weekly column for her hometown Laredo newspaper and was a reporter and headline writer for The Daily Texan. She also served as assistant editor and special edition editor for The Texan in the summer of 1966.
First elected to the Texas Senate in 1986, Senator Zaffirini now ranks second in seniority. She has passed more bills than any legislator in the history of the State of Texas and has cast 55,666 consecutive votes since January of 1987.
The owner of Zaffirini Communications, Senator Zaffirini has won more than 900 awards for her legislative, public service and professional accomplishments. With B.S., M.A. and PhD degrees from UT, she has been recognized for her strong support of The University. She received the UT Presidential Citation in 2013, was named a Distinguished Alumna by the Texas Exes in 2013 and also was named an Outstanding Alumna by the Moody College of Communication in 2016.


Griff Singer Award


RobGibson-I-1024x713Ron Gibson

From 1988 to 2000, five nights a week, Ron Gibson served as editorial manager of The Texan, reading every word that went into it. It was his job to check for style errors, typos and libelous material, while at the same time lending his experienced voice to those learning the craft of journalism. He did it without suppressing the voices of budding student journalists, but also while managing to follow UT administration rules.
Mr. Gibson shared his love for journalism with Texan staffers, something he learned while at the University of Nebraska and as a reporter and editor for the Lincoln Journal-Star. He moved to Austin in 1968 to pursue a doctorate, and soon after joined the UT Journalism faculty. It was there that he perfected his mentoring skills.
Mr. Gibson earned the trust of Texan staffers, and also shared with them his love of life — music, sports, trivia and, most of all, puns. He died at age 68 on September 24, 2002.


PaulThompsonResizedPaul J. Thompson

A pioneer in the academic discipline of Journalism, Paul J. Thompson graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and joined the UT Austin School of Journalism faculty in 1919, five years after it was formed. In 1925, however, the School became a pawn of Texas politics, when Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson vetoed the appropriations for Journalism and Fine Arts in the UT Austin budget. When this occurred, every member of the Journalism faculty left – except Mr. Thompson. Feeling an obligation to the students already committed to a journalism degree, and convinced that the honor of journalism education was on trial, Mr. Thompson organized and taught Journalism and Advertising Courses in the College of Business Administration.
After Governor Ferguson was defeated in 1926, UT restored Journalism as a Department under the College of Arts and Sciences, and Mr. Thompson was named chairman. He would remain in that post until 1958. During that time, he helped integrate lab work by Journalism students in reporting and editing with the work at The Texan. At the same time, he also made certain that editorial control of The Texan was placed in the hands of The Texan staff, separate from the Journalism Department and the University administration. Mr. Thompson also helped shape and served on the board of Texas Student Publications. By placing responsibility for the content of The Texan in the hands of the student staff, while at the same time assuring continuity and financial stability through a faculty-student board of directors, Mr. Thompson made it possible for The Texan not only to survive but to achieve greatness.
After World War II, Mr. Thompson was a national leader in establishing a national accreditation program for Journalism. Under his leadership, the UT Department of Journalism was one of the first to receive accreditation, and as a result UT raised the Department to the rank of “School of Journalism.” Mr. Thompson would serve as director until 1958, and retired as a teacher the following year. He was honored as “Mr. Journalism” with a gala on the UT campus, and The Texan published a special six-page section in his honor. He died at age 73 on May 22, 1964.


Rising Star Award


EmmaFitzsimmonsPhotoEmma Graves Fitzsimmons

Since February of 2015, Emma Graves Fitzsimmons has served as a Metro reporter for The New York Times. She covers the transit beat, which includes subways, buses, Citi Bike, taxis and “everything that moves.”
Ms. Graves Fitzsimmons worked on The Texan and received her Bachelor of Journalism degree from UT Austin in 2006. After internships with the Galveston County Daily News, the Austin American-Statesman and the Boston Globe, she worked as a Metro reporter for the Chicago Tribune from 2006 to 2008. Prior to her assignment to the transit beat, she worked as a freelance reporter, news assistant and breaking news reporter for The New York Times.