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School of Global Journalism & Communications Awards First Annual Jarrett Medal For Journalistic Excellence

Stacey Patton Honored for Exemplary Reporting on Black Life in America

Stacey PattonMorgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC) announces the award of its first annual Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence to Stacey Patton, a senior enterprise reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, book author, child advocate, and adjunct professor of American history. Patton is being recognized for her in-depth reporting on the African-American experience in America and will receive her medal along with an award of $10,000 during a special ceremony hosted by the University at the Open Society Foundations headquarters in New York on June 16.

“Stacey Patton is part of a new wave of black journalists who are honing their voices in the midst of this nation’s ongoing struggle for racial justice,” said DeWayne Wickham, dean for Morgan’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. “She and others like her are the linear successors of John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish, the founders of this nation’s first black newspaper, who explained their undertaking by wishing to plead our own cause and speak on behalf of ourselves. Patton is one of the emerging voices of black America.”

Vernon Jarrett medalThis is the first year that Morgan’s SGJC has selected a recipient for this award which will be given in recognition of exemplary reporting on the black condition. The prize is named for the late Vernon Jarrett, a pioneering African-American journalist who was the first African-American columnist at the Chicago Tribune and creator of the NAACP’s Act-So program, which encourages academic excellence among black youth. He also was a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Patton, who was one of three finalists nominated, was ultimately selected to receive the honor for her compelling commentary on black youth in a May 2015 article in Dame Magazine about the importance that civil disturbances – including the most recent in Baltimore – have played in moving the needle forward on the meter of racial and social justice. She was also cited for a November 2014 op-ed piece in The Washington Post, which argued, “America does not extend the fundamental elements of childhood to black boys and girls.”

The selection of this year’s awardee was determined by a panel of judges including Nikole Hannah-Jones, The News York Times Magazine; Randall Pinkston, Al Jazeera America; Roy Peter Clark, vice president and senior scholar, the Poynter Institute; Talitha Vickers, WXII-TV; and Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. The award ceremony and presentation takes place later this month at the New York-based Open Society Foundations, and will be attended by Morgan State administrators, journalists, in addition to business and civic leaders.

Patton holds a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University and is currently a professor at American University in DC. In addition to the publishing of her compelling memoir – “That Mean Old Yesterday” – which chronicles how she survived a turbulent path through the foster care system to emerge as a scholar and professional journalist, she has an extensive journalism background, having written for The Washington PostBaltimore SunNew York Newsday, and Scholastic magazine.

The SGJC, which opened July 1, 2013, is dedicated to giving voice to people who struggle to contribute to the public discourse that shapes this nation and the world through innovative teaching, cutting-edge research, and exemplary service to Maryland, the nation, and the world. The school seeks to imbue students with the skills, knowledge and training they need to effectively communicate ideas and add to the diversity of thought in the media. Its founding dean DeWayne Wickham, a columnist for USA TODAY and co-founder and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, leads the school.

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie classified doctoral research institution offering more than 60 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s public urban university, Morgan serves a multi-ethnic and multi-racial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information on Morgan State University, visit

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Larry Jones

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