head photo


A picture of the Honor Medal

“For Distinguished Service in Journalism” was the explanation that Dean Walter Williams, of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, provided when he announced the first group of honorees during the institution’s Journalism Week in 1930.

Previous to the Honor Medals, the Missouri School of Journalism held an annual Journalism Week beginning in 1911 during which speakers from all over the world came to the School to give speeches to students and the public. The Honor Medals were added to the schedule of the week in 1930.

Medalists are selected by the faculty of the School on the basis of lifetime or superior achievement, for distinguished service performed in such lines of journalistic endeavor as shall be selected each year for consideration.

During the 1930 ceremony, Dean Williams said the awards would not be restricted necessarily to any particular form of journalistic service, nor would there be necessarily any designated number of medals voted each year.

Honored on the first memorable occasion were The New York Times and La Prensa of Buenos Aires, Argentina; E.E. Stephens, Missouri publisher and editor; Ward A. Neff, publisher and editor of the Chicago Drovers’ Journal, and Percy S. Bullen, American correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph.

The medals have retained the same design since the first year they were awarded in 1930 and each is inscribed with the recipient’s name. Awards are made only to those nominees who, upon invitation, are present in person to receive them, or in the case of newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations or other organizational entities, when such are represented in person by an official representative.

Today, the Missouri School of Journalism hosts over 200 speakers a year. The School now dedicates a full day for the medalists to present master classes on topics related to their areas of expertise to Missouri School of Journalism students and other guests.