ASNE diversity award named in memory of Dori J. Maynard

Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism will honor stories that inspire community understanding. 


The American Society of News Editors announced Tuesday that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will sponsor an ASNE Award for the next five years for outstanding storytelling that helps a community better understand itself. 

The Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism is named for the late journalist and president of the 
Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which is dedicated to helping news media accurately portray all segments of society. The announcement comes the morning after Ms. Maynard's memorial service in Washington, D.C. 

The award celebrates journalism that overcomes ignorance, stereotypes, intolerance, racism or hate. Winning entries will bridge any or all of the social fault lines of race, gender, class, generation and geography. Entries will be judged on a variety of factors, including quality of writing, visual storytelling, the use of digital tools and community engagement. The winner will receive $2,500.

"ASNE greatly appreciates Knight Foundation's generous recognition of Dori Maynard," said ASNE President Chris Peck, associate editor of The Riverton (Wyo.) Ranger. "Dori was a courageous advocate for better journalism told through the full range of voices and perspectives that define America. ASNE's Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism will serve as a lasting reminder of what Dori stood for.''

In 2001, Ms. Maynard took the helm of the Maynard Institute. She was an ASNE board member and widely recognized as an unrelenting and influential voice for news and newsroom diversity. She championed the vision of her father, journalist Robert C. Maynard, co-founder of the institute, barrier-breaking owner of The Oakland Tribune and creator of the fault lines method of understanding social differences. Under her leadership, the institute trained journalists and staff of newsrooms around the country.

"Dori championed news and newsroom diversity as central to the most basic journalism value: accuracy," said Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at Knight Foundation and the last managing editor of The Oakland Tribune under Bob and Nancy Maynard. "With a kind of quiet ferocity, she would explain why stereotypes aren't just offensive, they're just plain wrong, and how covering your whole community isn't just fair, it's truthful."

Ms. Maynard, who died of cancer in February at age 56, joined the institute in 1993 when her father died, also of cancer at age 56. She was passionate about the future of the institute and its programs until her last day. She had helped the institute become more than a training organization by hosting Richard Prince's popular "Journal-isms" column and collaborating with The Washington Post on the "BrotherSpeak" video series that examined the lives of black men. 

Born in 1958 in New York City, Ms. Maynard graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont and worked as a reporter at The Bakersfield Californian; The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass.; and the Detroit Free Press where she covered politics. In 1993, she became the first female Neiman fellow at Harvard University. She was a board member of the Society of Professional Journalist's Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and was named a Fellow of the Society in 2001. She was the editor of "Letters to My Children," a collection of her father's newspaper columns.

Among the most prestigious journalism contests, the ASNE Awards cover nine categories that recognize the best in print, online and mobile content. Inspired by former ASNE President Eugene Patterson and started in 1979, the contest is open to all newspapers, news services and online publications in the United States. 

Other ASNE awards: 

  • The Batten Medal, sponsored by a group of editors from the former Knight Ridder company, honors the memory of revered reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Burl Osborne ASNE Award for Editorial Leadership, sponsored by The Dallas Morning News, recognizes editorial writing that makes a difference in a community. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling, sponsored by The New York Times, recognizes excellence in the use of digital tools to tell news stories. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Deborah Howell Award for Nondeadline Writing, sponsored by Advance, Inc., recognizes excellence in writing that's not accomplished on deadline. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune, recognizes excellence in journalism that expresses a personal point of view. The winner receives $2,500.
  • Distinguished writing award for local accountability reporting
  • Community service photojournalism award
  • Distinguished writing award for breaking news