Moody College of Communication


Dan Rather Medals for Excellence in News and Guts


$5,000 Award

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To be given to a journalist, team of journalists or a news organization producing an exceptional journalistic story or series in spite of facing demonstrable threats and hurdles – exhibiting news and guts.

Examples include overcoming:

  • Government resistance to the release of public records
  • Financial threats to coverage
  • Online harassment

Student Media

$5,000 Award

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To be given to a college journalist, a team of college journalists or college news organization producing an exceptional journalistic story or series whose execution required an exceptional reporting effort.

The journalists produced the story in spite of:

  • University or government resistance
  • Financial threats to coverage
  • University threats to coverage
  • Online harassment

2020 Professional Award Judges

Barbara Allen
Director of College Programming, Poynter
Tom Bettag
Professor, University of Maryland
Former Executive Producer, “Nightline”
Kathleen McElroy, Ph.D.
Director, School of Journalism and Media, University of Texas at Austin
Earnest Perry, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, University of Missouri School of Journalism
James Rada
Documentary Producer and Professor, Ithaca College

2020 Student Media Award Judges

Tristan Ahtone
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Observer
Past President, Native American Journalists Association
Jeff Cohen
Executive Vice President, Arnold Ventures
Former Hearst editor
Sonni Efron
President and COO, National Press Foundation
Rosa Flores
CNN Correspondent
Courtney Norris
Producer, “PBS NewsHour”

Medals Timeline

This fall marks the inaugural season for the Dan Rather Medals, but the idea behind these awards has been incubating for some time. Rather, the School of Journalism and Media, and the Moody College of Communication decided now is an especially appropriate time to highlight the work of journalists facing threats for trying to fulfill their vital role in American democracy. The medals are designed to complement rather than compete against other journalism awards. An event celebrating the winners will likely rotate between New York and Austin when it is again safe to gather in person.

Introducing Medals Announcement

Dec. 16

Submissions Portal Open

Jan. 1 - Feb. 15


Feb. 16 to Feb. 28

Finalists Notified

March 10

Winners Announced

March 24



Dan Rather on CBS news assignment.

Robert McNeely Photographic Archive,

Briscoe Center for American History.