USU journalism professor has award named after him

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:42 AM


LOGAN— A new award was created to honor Ted Pease, head of the Department ofJournalism and Communication at Utah State University, who is stepping downfrom his post at the end of the academic year. The award is named for thelong-time journalism educator, and will be given annually in recognition ofindividuals whose careers exemplify service to journalism.

“Officially,it’s the Ted Pease Award, but we’re informally calling it the Ted Pease Awardfor Curmudgeonly Service To Journalism,” assistant professor Matthew LaPlantesaid while presenting the award to Pease during the department’s annual awardsbanquet April 3. “In years to come, we hope to give the award to those whodon’t really give a damn what people think about them, so long as they’re doingwhat’s right on behalf of journalism and journalists.”

Theaward is sponsored by the newly formed Northern Utah Chapter of the Society ofProfessional Journalists based at Utah State. The chapter’s first official actof business was establishing the award — a simple wood box, bearing Pease’sname and signature, inside of which is a railroad spike. LaPlante noted the importance of the spike aspart of northern Utah’s regional heritage — the Golden Spike National HistoricSite is about an hour to the west of USU’s campus — and an important metaphorfor what journalists do.

“Journalistshelp bring things together,” he said. “People, ideas — even revolutions.”

Pease,who was unaware he would be receiving the award, said he was touched by thehonor.

“It’snice to know that even once I’m spiked I’ll be remembered,” he said, employinga newspaper term used when editors or publishers elect to kill story.

Pease,a veteran newsman, professor, photographer, fisherman and self-proclaimed“purveyor of interesting stuff” will return to the department as a part-timeinstructor after the department’s new chair, Thomas Terry, takes the reigns inthe fall. Pease has served as department head since 1994.

DanielleManley, a member of the SPJ chapter’s board of directors, called Pease “anoutstanding journalist and exceptional professor. I feel blessed to have beenin the department for his last couple years at USU.”

PaulChristiansen, another member of the chapter’s board, said Pease is “rougharound the edges and has a bit of an in-your-face attitude, sure. But he isthat type of person because he knows the world is hard on journalists. Howbetter to prepare students than by not cutting us any slack?”

Theaward was sponsored by the department’s students and faculty, with additionalsupport from Logan Regional Hospital. For more information, or to donate to theannual award, contact LaPlante at

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