OVERVIEW: Alabama Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Activities

Presented by:
Alabama Humanities Alliance
Current Initiative: Centennial Campfires National Partner: The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: Colleges and Universities, Other, Public Radio, Public Television Subject: Journalism, K-12 Education, Professional Development Audience: All, Educators, K-12

Alabama is the birthplace of twelve Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and home of three prize-winning publications and the Alabama Humanities Foundation created a series of programs to highlight the legacy of Alabama Prize-winning individuals through co-sponsoring the 145th Annual Alabama Press Association Journalism Summit, a series of radio and television broadcasts, presentations through their Road Scholars’ Speakers Bureau, a number of Pulitzer-related grant opportunities, and a professional development opportunity for educators.

145TH ANNUAL ALABAMA PRESS ASSOCIATION JOURNALISM SUMMIT

In partnership with the Alabama Press Association (APA), the Alabama council co-sponsored the 2016 APA Journalism Summit where 88 APA delegates and 45 journalism/communications students from Alabama colleges and universities attended the one-day symposium, which included a member roundtable, six concurrent sessions, and a luncheon. Members of The Tuscaloosa News 2012 Pulitzer Prize team discussed the role social media played during their news coverage of the 2011 Alabama tornado outbreak. Prize winners included Tommy Deas, Aaron Suttles, Stephanie Taylor, Jason Morton, Mark Cobb, and Michelle Lepianka Clark. Hank Klibanoff, Alabama Quotecoauthor of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History winning book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation led a discussion on civil rights and social justice. Joey Bunch, 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the 2013 Aurora, CO movie theater shootings, served as the luncheon keynote speaker and shared his advice and perspective on the intersection of empathy, compassion, and journalistic integrity.

“CARRIED HOME” ALABAMA WRITERS & THE PULITZER PRIZE

Collaborating with Troy Public Radio, the council developed “Carried Home: Alabama Writers and the Pulitzer Prize,” a five-part documentary radio series that aired December 2016 and again mid-January 2017. Fifteen Alabama authors with Pulitzer recognition were interviewed or excerpted through archival recordings, and several excerpts were produced in short dramatic readings. Each program consisted of three segments which allowed for integration into public radio programming formats, providing flexibility to be interspersed with segments of “All Things Considered” of NPR or local programming. Alabama Public Radio is set to broadcast the series in March 2018 and Huntsville Public Radio has also committed to broadcasting the series at a later date (presently TBA).

Within this series, Alabama Writers’ Forum and WTSU Troy University Radio produced “Alabama’s Pulitzer Prize Winners in their Own Words: Radio Documentaries,” five 30-minute radio documentaries that targeted traditional listeners and sought to engage younger generations. The segments were hosted by Dr. Don Noble who collaborated with Emmy-winner writer Wendy Reed on interviews with writers on location in and out of state. The documentaries were conceived by Jeanie Thompson, well-known poet and founding executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, and Kyle Gassiott, author, producer and operations manager for Troy Public Radio.

“THE YEAR OF THE PULITZER” ALABAMA PUBLIC TELEVISION

Alabama Public Television, in conjunction with the Pulitzer centennial, produced and broadcast five 60-second segments, entitled “Alabama Pulitzer Moments,” and which ran daily throughout November and December 2016. Featured Prize-recipients were journalists Cynthia Tucker Haynes, Hank Klibanoff, Howell Raines, Joey Kennedy, Jason Moron, Jerry H. Carpenter, Mark Hughes Cobb, and Stephanie Taylor. Segments are available for public viewing.

“MAYCOMB MOMENTS – 1930s and 1950s” SUPER TEACHER PROGRAM

To further celebrate the Pulitzer centennial, the council hosted a professional development for 20 high school educators through their SUPER Teacher Program.

AHF ROAD SCHOLARS SPEAKERS BUREAU

The 2016 Alabama Humanities Foundation Speakers Bureau featured two presentations that focused on 1961 Pulitzer Prize winner Harper Lee for To Kill A Mockingbird. The first looked critically at the character of Atticus Finch and the second highlighted the myths that underscore the “subtlety, complexity, richness and the honesty” of Lee’s classic.

ADDITIONAL PULITZER-THEMED GRANTS

During 2016, the council also announced a special call for grant projects celebrating Alabama Pulitzer Prize history. The Alabama Writers’ Forum received a grant supporting a statewide traveling public discussion series highlighting Pulitzer Prize-winning authors who have also been inducted into the Alabama Writers’ Hall of Fame. Additionally, because of the partnership with the Alabama Press Association, Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism submitted a proposed (Feb. 2017) to have APA apply for grants to support journalism student attendance at the Alabama Journalism Summit.

PARTNERSHIPS:

  • Alabama Press Association (APA)
  • Auburn University
  • Oakwood College
  • Samford University
  • Stillman College
  • Troy University
  • University of Alabama
  • Troy Public Radio
  • Alabama Public Television
  • Alabama Writers’ Forum
  • Alabama Writers Hall of Fame/Center for the Book

PULITZER PRIZE PARTICIPANTS:

  • Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Aaron Suttles, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Stephanie Taylor, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Jason Morton, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Mark Cobb, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Michelle Lepianka Clark, The Tuscaloosa News team – Breaking News (2012)
  • Joey Bunch, The Denver Post team – Breaking News (2013)
  • Hank Klibanoff, History (2007)

EVENT LOCATIONS:

  • Monroeville, AL
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Montgomery, AL

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