Journalism college to honor alumni, leaders during J Days

Lincoln, Neb., March 22, 2010 — Nine individuals will be honored during J Day activities April 8 and 9 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The college will present seven awards and will join the Nebraska Broadcasters Association to present the Nebraska Broadcast Pioneer Award.
In an April 8 ceremony to induct students into the journalism honor society, Kappa Tau Alpha, and recognize students’ success in scholarship and achievement, the college will present three special awards:  The Will and Susan Norton Award for International Journalism will be presented to Todd Baer; the Kappa Tau Alpha Outstanding Service Award for the Will Owen Jones chapter will be presented to Rich Bailey of Lincoln; and the Thomas C. Sorensen Award for Distinguished Nebraska Journalism will be presented to Joe Duggan and Catharine Huddle.

In an April 9 ceremony at Chez Hay, the college will present three Alumni Awards of Excellence: the Outstanding Advertising Award to Stacy Fuller of New York City; the Outstanding Broadcasting Award to Phil Witt of Kansas City, Mo.; and the Outstanding News-editorial Award to Lise Olsen of Houston, Texas. It will also present the Outstanding Service to the Profession Award to Trudy Lieberman of New York City and the Nebraska Broadcast Pioneer Award to Ron Hull of Lincoln.

Baer, recipient of The Will and Susan Norton Award for International Journalism, is an award-winning Lebanese-American television journalist and international TV news consultant.  He has spent the last year working as a freelance correspondent for Al Jazeera English, most recently in Beirut, Lebanon.  In addition to his work as a journalist, he sits on the editorial advisory board of A24 Media, a Nairobi-based news organization. Before joining Al Jazeera English in 2008, Baer was a freelance correspondent and television news consultant in India, Pakistan and Kenya, and a freelance correspondent for CNN and ABC News. Previously Baer was a reporter at KSTP-TV (ABC) in Minneapolis, Minn., for five years. He started his career at ABC News in New York as a desk assistant in 1997. He has worked at CNN in Atlanta and at several other local TV stations in the United States.

Bailey, KTA Outstanding Service Award winner, is the retired chairman of Bailey Lauerman, a marketing communications firm based in Lincoln, Neb. The firm he helped to co-found in 1970 has been recognized by the American Association of Advertising agencies as one of the top six creative agencies in the United States in its size category, and serves national, regional and local clients from offices in Lincoln and Omaha with a staff of 85. Bailey is a Lincoln native and devotes a portion of his time to teaching advertising courses at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and serves in an advisory capacity for marketing courses in the College of Business Administration. The Ninth District of the American Advertising Federation recognized him as the Ad Man of the Year in 1985.

Duggan and Huddle, Sorensen Award winners, took an in-depth look at the 1985 murder of Helen Wilson of Beatrice, Neb., and the wrongful conviction of six defendants in a Lincoln Journal Star series titled, “Presumed Guilty.” Examining more than 5,000 pages of documents and videotaped confessions, the series chronicled how innocent people were sent to prison and how the DNA tests exonerated the six defendants. Duggan is a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Huddle is an assistant city editor there. The Sorensen Award is named in honor of a Nebraska journalist, Thomas C. Sorensen, who started his career in journalism as an assistant night editor at the Lincoln State Journal. Later he served as news director and commentator on KLMS radio in Lincoln. Sorensen graduated from the University of Nebraska with degrees in journalism and political science. The first Sorensen award was conferred in 1996.

Fuller, Outstanding Advertising Alumna, is an account director at Jay-Z’s Translation, a firm that helps brands become relevant for the youth-minded consumer. Working on Wrigley’s brands, Fuller produced remakes of classic Wrigley’s jingles with artists such as Julianne Hough, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo, and consults on Wrigley’s brands such as Altoids, 5 and Orbit. Fuller’s previous accounts included the NBA and Burt’s Bees while at BrandBuzz, a division of Young & Rubicam’s New York division; rebranding of at Deutsch in Los Angeles; and UPS and Harley Davison at Rapp Collins Worldwide in Chicago.

Witt, Outstanding Broadcast Alumnus, has been reporting news at WDAF-TV FOX 4 in Kansas City, Mo., for more than 30 years. He is the weekend news anchor and senior reporter for the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Witt’s previous experience has been as a reporter, news photographer, weatherman, sports reporter and promotion manager. Witt began his career in broadcasting as a news stringer at KETV in Omaha while at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and he has worked at KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, and KMEG in Sioux City, Iowa. Witt won a regional Emmy Award in 1997 for a documentary he hosted on Kansas City’s street war on drugs. In 2006, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Chapter presented Witt with a Silver Circle Award, signifying more than a quarter century of outstanding work in television broadcasting.

Olsen, Outstanding News-ed Alumna, is an investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle where her recent work exposed how a drunken federal judge had repeatedly molested female court employees and had improperly sought and obtained financial favors, including the purchase of his home, from lawyer friends. Olsen’s other stories showed how hundreds of Americans had fallen victim to Mexico’s recent boom in homicides and how tardy Texas attorneys repeatedly forfeited final appellate rights for their death row clients. She has won awards and prompted probes and reform for her work on police shootings, refinery safety, air toxics and the previously unheard innocence claim of an executed man. She was recognized as Texas Reporter of the Year in 2005 for her investigative work. Olsen is a member of the board of directors of Investigative Reporters & Editors and chairs its international task force. Fluent in Spanish and French, Olsen has trained journalists in more than a dozen countries on investigative reporting and computer-assisted reporting techniques.

Lieberman, recipient of the Outstanding Service to the Profession Award, has been a journalist for 40 years and is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health. She was recently director of the health and medical reporting program at the Graduate School of Journalism, City University of New York and had a long career at Consumer Reports specializing in insurance, health care and health care financing. She was also the director of the Center for Consumer Health Choices at Consumers Union. She is a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, a contributor to The Nation and has written a column about health and the marketplace for the Los Angeles Times. She blogs on health care and income security issues at for the Columbia Journalism Review. She began her career as a consumer writer for the Detroit Free Press, where her reporting became a model for consumer writers across the country. She has won numerous awards and is the author of five books. She is completing another book about health reform in America.

, recipient of the Nebraska Broadcast Pioneer Award, is a longtime broadcaster with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. He started his Nebraska career in 1955 when he joined KUON-TV, Lincoln as a producer-director. He held management and production positions with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and also served as the director of the Program Fund of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Hull has served on the board of directors of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and became a member of the NBA Hall of Fame in 2004. The Nebraska Broadcasters Association and the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications established the award in 2000.