Presented jointly by the Urban Communication Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
Policies and Procedures
The Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism is named after Gene Burd, Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas, who endowed the Urban Communication Foundation
The Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism
The purpose of the Urban Journalism Award is to reward and thereby improve the practice and study of journalism in the urban environment by recognizing high-quality urban media reporting, critical analysis, and research relevant to that content and its communication about city problems, programs, policies, and public priorities in urban life and culture.
AMOUNT OF AWARDS
The award of $5,000 for the Urban Journalism Award and is presented ate annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication convention held in August of each year. Awards are for individuals with a distinguished record of accomplished works in urban journalism.
PROCEDURES FOR SUBMISSION
Candidates must submit, or have submitted on their behalf, nomination materials, which includes the following:
I. A letter of nomination for the nominee.
II. An additional letter of support.
II. A copy of the nominee’s current vita/resume.
IV. Additional supporting materials (e.g., reprints of articles, other media productions and additional letters of endorsement, or other appropriate information.)
Submissions must be sent to the Executive Director of AEJMC. Nomination materials must be submitted by April 15 of the year in which the award will be made. The next award will be given in 2021. Submissions must be made electronically, in the form of e-mail and attachments.
Previous Winners of the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award
Lolly Bowean, a 2017 Nieman Fellow and winner of the Studs Terkel Award, is a general assignment reporter focusing on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities, and minority relations. She joins a distinguished group of journalists who have received recognition through the UCF’s Gene Burd Journalism Grant.
Brian Lehrer was the 2018 Gene Burd Urban Journalism recipient. The award recognizes his high quality urban media reporting, critical analysis and research relevant to city problems, programs, policies, and public priorities in urban life and culture. Lehrer was recognized for his two-hour daily call-in radio program at WNYC and for being an “insightful and enduring presence in broadcast journalism dedicated to the urban condition.”
Jeff McCarter is the Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, which he created in 2001 in order to share his experience as a media professional (Emmy Award-winning producer, cameraman, director, and editor) with young people from under-resourced communities. Jeff witnessed the lack of diversity in both representation and opportunity in mainstream media.
Now, Free Spirit Media transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal, and professional aspirations.
Robert Campbell is a writer and architect. In 1996 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his writing on architecture in the Boston Globe. He has published more than 100 feature articles in national periodicals and for ten years wrote a regular column, “Critique,” for the magazine Architectural Record. He is the author of Cityscapes of Boston: An American City Through Time. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He has received the AIA’s Medal for Criticism, the Commonwealth Award of the Boston Society of Architects, a Design Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; and grants from the Graham Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund.
Ben Katchor, cartoonist and graphic novelist, was awarded the 2015 award. The jury noted that it “was truly impressed with [his] creative and dynamic approach to the urban landscape and [the] bizarre variety of complex urban issues” he addresses. Ben’s series of books, collected from his many cartooning efforts, give readers an immersion in urban life that always calls attention to the people who build things, make things, and consume things.
Sommer Mathis was editor of The Atlantic Cities, The Atlantic‘s sister site devoted to the most groundbreaking ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods. Before joining Atlantic Media in 2011, she spent five years reporting on the Washington, DC metro area, first as editor-in-chief of DCist.com and later as news editor at local news start-up, TBD.com. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, the Washingtonian magazine, Architect magazine, and The Guardian.
Tom Condon has held numerous positions at the Hartford Courant, from reporter to editor to columnist. In all of those, his smart and values-driven work has largely focused on making urban life, especially life in and around Hartford, better. Hartford used to be a jewel of a city. It has been tarnished, as have many of the rust-belt cities. Condon has been relentless in looking for solutions and for keeping readers hopeful and engaged. Whether the problem is education, housing, commerce, drugs, tax policy, zoning, transportation, or what have you, Condon has tackled it and argued for sensible, pro-livable-city changes.
Blair Kamin, architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles that explored the “problems and promise of Chicago’s greatest public space, its lakefront.” He graduated from Amherst College in 1979 and from the Yale University School of Architecture in 1984 with a Master of Environmental Design. He was a reporter for the Des Moines Register from 1984 to 1987, then joined the Tribune in 1987, covering suburban and cultural news. Since becoming the Tribune’s architecture critic in 1992, he has written about “the full range of the built environment.”
Susan Szenasy is the former editor-in-chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine, and an internationally recognized authority on sustainability and design, helping it to achieve worldwide recognition with its landmark design journalism. In 2007 she was a joint recipient of the Civitas August Heckscher Award for Community Service and Excellence. Ms. Szenasy holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Inga Saffron, hired by the Inquirer in 1985 as a suburban reporter, is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. One of Ms. Saffron’s champions has said, “Ms. Saffron’s writing is based on a deep understanding of Philadelphia’s distinctive urban fabric, of which she is a passionate but critical advocate. Her great strength is her ability to explain to her readers how each piece of our city – a major new high rise, the demolition of an historic building, or a sidewalk utility box – improves or diminishes the city for its inhabitants. While many in this city still focus only on whether development takes place, Ms. Saffron has become our most vocal proponent for the good quality design and thoughtful planning needed to preserve the city’s rich character and help achieve a more vibrant future.”
Joel Kotkin is an internationally recognized authority on urban trends and their global, economic, political, and social ramifications. As a journalist, he has regularly explored urban landscapes, people, and policy for more than two decades. His writings on urban housing and urban planning have appeared in a range of magazines and journals that include The Wharton Real Estate Review, Inc, Newsweek, The American Interest, Commentary, and Metropolis. He also has contributed frequent pieces on urban landscapes and policies for more than two decades in newspapers that include The Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Los Angeles Times.
Paul Goldberger wrote The New Yorker’s “Sky Line” column . He holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in New York City. His career started at the New York Times where he won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Journalism in 1984. Paul Goldberger is the contemporary extension of Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, and Ada Louise Huxtable. Kent Barwick, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York said “Paul’s greatest contribution is his writing about cities. How architecture hits the pavement, how projects relate to their surroundings, how physical change affects how we feel about places is his genius.”
Steward Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog was called a conceptual forerunner of the search engine by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. It was Brand’s desire to help people find any information they might find useful to themselves that inspired him to publish the massive catalog. Brand was a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory, out of which he produced his 1997 book: The Media Lab: Inventing the Future. His other books include How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (1994) and The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (1999).
Peter Applebome writes twice a week for the New York Times “Metropolitan Page” on the towns, the suburbs, and those locations outside the immediate places usually referred to as the metropolis. He is a journalist, a commentator, and a story-teller. His columns focus on the human dimensions of living in a geographic place, the shifting connection between individuals and their environment, and the changing values that accompany the fluid and global landscape.
Joel Garreau has written over a long period of time for the Washington Post, Wired Magazine, Whole Earth Review, and three books: Nine Nations of North America (1981), Edge City(1991), and Radical Evolution (2005).
John King, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his emerging significance as a national urban critic, continues the long San Francisco Chronicle tradition of support for local critical commentators and analysts of urban life like that of the late Allan Temko and Herb Caen. King also follows in the footsteps of acclaimed national urban critics such as Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, Ada Huxtable, and Grady Clay, who have also seen and written about cities through the architectural lens to interpret, critique, and mediate the interaction of city planners, urban policies and the public.
Call for Nominations
2020 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award
Urban Communication Foundation
The annual Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award recognizes an outstanding book, published in English, which exhibits excellence in addressing issues of urban communication. It is named in honor of the late social activist and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. All entries must be published between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2020. The book award brings with it a $500 prize.
To nominate a book, please send a short letter of nomination or self-nomination (in the form of an email attachment) to Timothy Gibson, chair of the Jane Jacobs Book Award review committee, at email@example.com by July 15, 2020. The letter of nomination should describe the book and explain how it addresses issues central to the field of urban communication. For more information on the field of urban communication, and to determine if your nomination fits the award call, please review the Urban Communication Foundation’s mission statement (at http://urbancomm.org/about-ucf/mission-purpose/).
Review process: We will review all letters of nomination after the July 15, 2020 deadline and choose a short-list of finalists. This short-list of finalists (or their publishers) will then be asked to send copies of the book to the award committee.
Teresa Bergman (Department of Communication, University of the Pacific)
Timothy Gibson (Department of Communication, George Mason University)
Co-Chairs, Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award Committee
Email nomination letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Urban Communication Foundation periodically honors distinguished writers and their messages to both inspire and guide present and future urban journalists and scholars.
2013: Neil Peirce, Journalist
On August 9th, 2013, at the annual Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication conference in Washington DC, the Urban Communication Foundation presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the chairman of the CitiStates Group Neil R. Peirce. Peirce is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award because of his “distinguished and extraordinary leadership as a journalist with an urban vision”.
2012: Paul Gapp, Architecture Critic and Journalist
In August 2012, the Urban Communication Foundation granted a Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Chicago Tribune journalist Paul Gapp (1928-1992) for architectural criticism that won him and the Tribune the 1979 Pulitzer Prize.
Paul Gapp won his Pulitzer for columns he wrote in 1978 when he took readers on a critical paper “tour” of the city’s 46 official landmarks and historic sites. The Tribune praised Gapp’s work for its “Vision. Imagination. Taste. Experience” and “An abiding concern for the city’s environmental destiny” with his “even handed, reasoned judgments with a style that’s selectively scalding, often witty, always incisive and never excessively technical.” Gapp did “not hesitate to call the most prestigious architects and their clients to account before the bar of civic excellence,” according to Carl Condit, Northwestern University professor of art history, who said Gapp’s “writings place him in the highest tradition of American journalism.”
Gapp was born in Cleveland and graduated from Ohio University with a BS degree in journalism. He worked for the Columbus Dispatch (1950-1956) and later for the Chicago Daily News (1956-1966), where he was a reporter, feature editor, and editorial writer. He also directed the Urban Journalism Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago and was the executive director for the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects.
2011: George McCue, Urban Design Critic and Author
The Urban Communication Foundation honored the journalistic legacy of the late George McCue (1910-2003) at the 2011 Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication conference in St. Louis with the presentation of a posthumous lifetime achievement award.
An honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, George McCue was the urban design critic for the St. Louis Post Dispatch from 1966-1975. In 1967 Time Magazine named McCue as a prominent urban critic with a “civic conscience,” and credited him with bringing St. Louis architects, artists, and city planners together. He was recognized by the magazine Architecture in 1989 as one of the few newspaper journalists “who gave a large part of their time to consideration of architecture and urban design,” and credited as one of the “people behind the comeback of St Louis.”
2008: Grady Clay, Urban Analyst and Author
Grady Clay, 91, the first urban affairs editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and editor for 23 years of Landscape Architecture magazine, past president of the American Society of Planning Officials (now American Planning Association) and jury chairman for the Viet Nam War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Clay was selected for his work as a distinguished urban observer-critic and “extraordinary scholar/journalist who has written about the city for many years”.
Grady Clay is a unique journalist/scholar/critic sensitive to the changing nature of the urban landscape. He pioneered the recognition of the inherent connection of design, architecture, quality of life and communication technology. He is a voice to be returned to and heard at a time of the increasing globalization of urban/suburban space. Clay’s books include Close-Up: How to Read the American City (1973); Alleys: A Hidden Resource (1978); Right Before Your Eyes: Penetrating the Urban Environment (1987); and Real Places: An Unconventional Guide to America’s Generic Landscape (1994).
He also contributed to landmark urban anthologies: The Exploding Metropolis (1958) and The Changing Metropolis (1969), and has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Architectural Forum, Horizon, Southern Living, House and Home, House Beautiful, Ekistics, and many other publications. Clay also provided weekly public radio commentary in his “Crossing the American Grain” at WFPL-Louisville, and he originated and directed a TV documentary called “Unknown Places.”
2005: William Mitchell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
William Mitchell (1944-2010) was given the first Urban Communication Foundation Special Achievement Award for his lifetime achievements in urban scholarship exemplified by his book City of Bits: Space, Place and Infobahn (1995).
Mitchell held the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. (1954) Professorship and directed the Media Lab’s Smart Cities research group. He was formerly Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and Head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, both at MIT.
Among his other important works are Placing Words: Symbols, Space, and the City (MIT Press, 2005);Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City (MIT Press, 2003); and e-topia: Urban Life, Jim—But Not As We Know It, (MIT Press, 1999).