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Veteran journalist Lovejoy wins first Anthony Shadid Ethics Award

March 26, 2012 By Stacy Forster

The Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will honor veteran newsman Steve Lovejoy, editor of the Journal Times in Racine with the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics, on Friday, April 13.

Lovejoy has been editor of The Journal Times since 2007 and has also served as opinion page editor and news editor.

The award selection committee will present the award to Lovejoy during a tribute to Shadid on April 13 at the fourth annual Journalism Ethics Conference, sponsored by the Center for Journalism Ethics in the UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

For more information on the award and to register for the conference, click here.

The award, previously known as the Wisconsin Commitment to Journalism Ethics, has been named in honor of the work of Anthony Shadid, a 1990 UW–Madison graduate who died in February while on assignment in Syria for the New York Times.

Shadid’s international reporting for the Washington Post won him two Pulitzer Prizes. He was a member of the advisory board of the Center for Journalism Ethics.

“Anthony Shadid’s journalism captured the essence of responsible public-interest journalism,” said Stephen J. A. Ward, the center’s director. “By renaming the award, we honor his inspiring example to others and his unwavering commitment to journalism.”

Lovejoy, a veteran of the newspaper industry, will be recognized for his lifelong practice of applying the highest ethical standards to his work. Despite the immediate challenges pressing the newspaper industry, Lovejoy has remained true to the principles of ethical journalism, tackling tough issues and engaging citizens and community leaders alike to work towards positive change.

A committee of working and retired journalists considered Lovejoy’s tenure at the Journal Times, his leadership in the newsroom and industry, and many samples of his work in which ethical decision-making was evidenced.

“Lovejoy sought truth and reported it when it might have been safer not to,” says Jack Mitchell, journalism professor emeritus, who chaired the judging.

Lovejoy was the committee’s unanimous choice.

“There is no single yardstick that gives an answer in all cases and that requires us to weigh our news decisions with both empathy and a dedication to finding the truth — or as close to it as we can come — each day,” Lovejoy says.

In today’s politically turbulent times it is more important than ever for newspapers and other media to uphold their commitment to readers through fair and accurate presentation of the news, he says. That sometimes means aggressively protecting the public’s right to know what their government is doing and why. It also means weighing the impact of what we report on a person, a family, a government entity or the community itself, Lovejoy adds.

Lovejoy most recently won a first place award for editorial writing from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

A native of La Crosse, Lovejoy, 64, was assistant city editor of the Wisconsin State Journal and also worked as a reporter there for 15 years covering a variety of beats, including police, city and county government, and energy and environment.

Lovejoy went to the Journal Times as news editor in 1986 and was named opinion page editor in 1997.

He is a journalism graduate of UW–Madison and also attended Stanford University on a John S. Knight Fellowship for energy writers.