United Media Guild honors activists, journalists for outstanding work


UMG ThumbSt. Louis – The United Media Guild honored key activists and outstanding journalists for 2014 with an awards ceremony here Jan. 29.


• Terry Hughes Award – St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jesse Bogan won the award named for the late Terry Hughes, a Post-Dispatch columnist who championed the underdog and gave voice to the trials of everyday people. The judges noted that Bogan’s stories consistently give voice to the disenfranchised, and that he regularly connects readers with people who otherwise might go ignored, such as military veterans and the homeless, students struggling in broken school districts, the unrest in Ferguson and a north St. Louis lounge that limits its clientele to those 35 and older.

• John McGuire Award – Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell, who died Dec. 4, 2014 at the age of 59, was honored for outstanding lifetime journalism achievement. Before coming to the Post-Dispatch, Burwell worked for the New York Daily News, New York Newsday, the Detroit News and USA Today. His television work included stints with HBO and Turner Sports, plus regular appearances on ESPN. That TV experience made him the natural point man to expand video commentary on STLToday, the Post-Dispatch website. He hosted several local radio shows as well, most recently at CBS Sports Radio 920. Bryan’s wife Dawn accepted the award on his behalf.


• Guilder of the Year – Pekin Daily Times reporter Sharon Harris won the UMG’s top award for activism. As the long-time unit chair at her newspaper, she led the three-year battle for a first contract with GateHouse Media. She helped negotiate that deal while also coordinating one of the most effective public campaigns the UMG has ever staged, and later she advised UMG’s Peoria unit on its successful public campaign, assisted in organizing efforts in Springfield and helped bargain a tentative agreement on a new contract in Pekin.

Activist of the Year – Peoria Journal Star columnist Phil Luciano was honored for his stellar leadership as the unit chair at his newspaper. His unit’s earlier public campaign helped secure a peaceful contract extension with GateHouse that kept the newspaper’s copy desk from being outsourced. He also took an active role in organizing efforts in Springfield and Rockford, speaking with reporters in those cities about the value of Guild representation.

Solidarity Award – The Solidarity Award was given to the Post-Dispatch unit, where reporters rallied behind salespersons being subjected to punitive and counter-productive changes in their sales plans.

Steward of the Year – Truthout environmental reporter Mike Ludwig earned the award for assisting in negotiations for a new contract at the digital news operation. Truthout reporters work from coast-to-coast in a virtual newsroom, so bringing the group together to discuss workplace issues and contract needs is challenging.


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