Dallas Morning News to sponsor ASNE writing award

In honor of former executive editor and publisher Burl Osborne, The Dallas Morning News will generously sponsor the ASNE distinguished writing award for editorials for the next 10 years.

The Burl Osborne ASNE Award for Editorial Leadership will recognize editorial writing that is excellent journalism and makes a difference in a community.

Mr. Osborne died in August. He led The Dallas Morning News to national prominence and a string of Pulitzer Prizes during 21 years at the newspaper. He served as ASNE president in 1991 and later as ASNE Foundation president.

The gift to the ASNE Foundation was announced on Wednesday by James M. Moroney III, the CEO and publisher of The Dallas Morning News. The annual winner will receive $2,500.

Mr. Osborne was a reporter and managing editor at the Associated Press, and was executive editor and publisher at The Dallas Morning News. After leaving the News in 2001, he became chairman of the AP board.

The ASNE Awards, which encompass nine categories, 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. It is one of the most prestigious journalism contests in the country, annually honoring excellent craftsmanship in journalism.

Other ASNE writing awards:
  • The Batten Medal, which honors the memory of revered reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten.The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award, which honors distinguished writing on topics that deal with diversity; it is sponsored by The Freedom Forum, and the winner receives $2,500.
  • Distinguished writing award for commentary/column writing
  • Distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting
  • Online storytelling
  • Community service photojournalism award
  • Distinguished writing award for local accountability reporting
  • Distinguished writing award for nondeadline writing
"Burl Osborne was one of the finest journalists of his generation, in this country or anywhere," said Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of A.H. Belo Corporation upon Mr. Osborne's death. "He reinvigorated The Dallas Morning News as its executive editor in the early 1980s, and as publisher, Burl charted The News' emergence as one of America's truly distinguished newspapers.

"As chairman of The Associated Press beginning in 2002, Burl led the AP's transition to becoming one of the world's most influential Internet media organizations. Most importantly, Burl was a person of unquestioned integrity whose determination and personal strength set the standard for colleagues and friends throughout his life."

Mr. Osborne was named senior vice president and editor of The News in 1980. He was named president of the newspaper in 1985 and publisher in 1991. He retired as an executive officer of Belo Corp. on Dec. 31, 2001. In May 2002, he became chairman of the board of The Associated Press, where he served as a board member for a total of 14 years. In July 2009, Mr. Osborne was named interim chief executive officer of Freedom Communications Inc., serving until July 2010. He had served on the board of directors since 2004.

During his career, Mr. Osborne served as a member and co-chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board, chairman of the American Press Institute, president and chairman of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, trustee of the Southern Newspaper Association Foundation, and director of the Newspaper Association of America and chairman of its Presstime Advisory Committee. In 1992, Mr. Osborne received the National Press Foundation's George David Beveridge Jr. Award for Editor of the Year. The next year, he received the Pat Taggart Texas Newspaper Leader of the Year Award.