Home Education Associated Press editor Kathleen Carroll accepts Carr Van Anda award

Associated Press editor Kathleen Carroll accepts Carr Van Anda award

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One of the most influential players in the journalism industry visited campus Monday to accept the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism’s highest honor, the Carr Van Anda award.

Kathleen Carroll, vice president and executive editor of the Associated Press, accepted the award at an event in her honor held in Ohio University’s Baker University Center theatre in front of a crowd of students, journalists, and university faculty. At the event, she presented her gratitude as part of a lecture titled “The Two Most Important Questions in Journalism.”

“We must make journalism better. We must think about how we can accomplish that,” Carroll said.

Carroll introduced her two questions by referencing the “five Ws” of journalistic writing, being “Who, what when, where, and why.” However, she said that the most important questions that journalists could ask were not among these, they being “How?” and “How do you know that?”

She referenced stories from across the country as cases in which journalists, pushing for accountability and truth, incited legitimate change by bringing attention to issues. She said that while the AP is known for its breaking news, it should also be known for the news it breaks.

“I call that accountability journalism,” Carroll said. “It should be something we do every day… in every format.”

Carroll called to mind many recent stories in which journalists took extra steps in pursuit of truth. She referenced Mike Schlabach’s public records request that revealed controversial comments made by Ohio State University President Gordon Gee about Catholics. That request ultimately led to the president’s resignation, which Carroll praised as an example of accountability journalism.

She also made reference to the ongoing Justice Department subpoena of 21 Associated Press phone lines following the 2012 story about a foiled Al Qaeda bomb attempt. The Associated Press has been pushing to have the subpoena changed since that event.

Concluding her presentation, she remarked fondly on Ohio University, quoting from an email she received stating from an alum that said “Our school produces the kind of people and journalists that work in our fine outfit.”

In his introduction, Scripps alum and visiting professional Andy Alexander expressed his admiration for Carroll, whom he identified as a friend and “one of the most influential people in the journalism world.”

“What stands out about Kathleen is that she’s just an absolutely solid journalist,” Alexander said. “She knows not only how we do journalism, but she knows why we do journalism.”

Dr. Robert Stewart, Director of the Scripps School, said that there are very practical benefits for inviting Carroll to campus. He sees the visit as mutually beneficial for the school and for the Associated Press.

“It’s great to have her on the radar of students, and vice versa,” Stewart said. “She’s incredibly powerful in journalism and getting her here makes students more aware of her and the AP in the news business.”

Stewart says that the journalism school is proud to have at least 21 graduates working at the Associated Press, a number that he hopes will drive current students to aspire to work for the news agency.

The Carr Van Anda award is named in honor of the 1880’s student who spent two years at Ohio University before working his way up the ladder to the position of managing editor of the New York Times in 1904. He is credited with the establishment of that paper as a newspaper of repute, as he oversaw the coverage of the Titanic sinking, as well as the paper winning a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of World War 1. The award was established in 1968.


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