Entries Sought For Inaugural Morley Safer Reporting Award

The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting announces its inaugural call for entries.

A program of The University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History, where Safer’s archival papers are preserved, the Safer Award seeks to recognize a story or series of stories of creativity, vision and integrity. Applicants have until midnight on Feb. 28 to submit their entries through morleysaferaward.briscoecenter.org.

“Historians want the American conversation about identities, origins and values to remain rooted in evidence,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “This value is shared with journalists — history’s first responders — which is one of the reasons the center collects their archives.”

The Briscoe Center is the home of one of the nation’s leading news media history archives, which includes the papers of Morley Safer, Walter Cronkite and Liz Smith, as well as photographers Eddie Adams, Flip Schulke and Diana Walker, among many others.

“Created in partnership with Jane and Sarah Safer, the Briscoe Center will present the inaugural Morley Safer Award to honor reporters who embody Morley’s journalistic legacy,” Carleton added.

According to the Center, “Morley Safer was one of the most respected and honored reporters in television history. During his 50 years at CBS News, his work ranged from groundbreaking war coverage to elegantly written profiles of people and places. He never shied away from controversy, resisted conventional interpretations and found many of his best stories where no one else bothered to look.


“The hundreds of stories he crafted often defy easy categorization. He valued wit, eloquence and expression but never at the expense of rigor, depth or bite. His approach to reporting defined a generation of broadcast journalists. In these times of alternative facts and fake news, celebrating the integrity and tenacity of reporters like Morley remains even more critical to the health of our democracy.”

The Morley Safer Award is governed by an eight-person steering committee made up of Carleton, Lynn Goldberg, John Marks, Kathleen McElroy, Horace Newcomb, Jane Safer, Sarah Safer and Mark Updegrove. Each year, the committee appoints a panel of nominators and a jury. Reporters can submit their work directly for consideration via morleysaferaward.briscoecenter.org or be nominated by the panel.

In March, the steering committee recommends a short list of finalists and their work to the jury. The 2019 panel of nearly 40 nominators includes journalists Deborah Amos, Tom Brokaw, Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl. In April, the jury will meet in Austin at the Briscoe Center to deliberate the award’s recipient.

The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting will be presented at a luncheon in Manhattan each fall. Entries are open to work published in the United States or Canada between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.

Nominators and jurors will seek stories that embody aspects of Morley Safer’s distinctive strengths: reporting grounded in historical context; spotlighting an overlooked story or presenting a familiar story from a new perspective; describing a sometimes-quirky profile of a person or place that offers unexpected insights; and telling a story in all its depth and complexity with wit and compelling use of language.

The Briscoe Center for American History collects, preserves and shares the raw materials of history in order to foster exploration of the American past. Dating back to 1883, the center’s collections represent more than a century of collection efforts at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 1991, the center has evolved a national reputation for its collections related to news media history.

Nearly three miles of archival materials across hundreds of separate collections include the personal papers of industry pioneers, print reporters, television and radio correspondents, photojournalists and media producers, as well as over 5,000 newspaper titles, millions of photographs and countless hours of audio and video footage. Together with the center’s libraries, museums and historic buildings, news media collections document the people, events and ideas that have shaped America.

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