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Wednesday, September 11, 2002

USA TODAY's Tom Curley to receive USD Neuharth Award

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Tom Curley

VERMILLION, S.D. — Tom Curley, president and publisher of USA TODAY, will receive the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism during a program at the University of South Dakota on Tuesday, Oct. 8. This will be the 14th annual presentation of the Neuharth award, which is part of the Dakota Days homecoming festivities at USD.

Curley will be the 15th recipient of the annual award, which is named for USA TODAY and Freedom Forum founder Al Neuharth and honors lifetime achievement in journalism. The university and the Freedom Forum created the award in 1989 after they also jointly established the Neuharth Center for Excellence in Journalism. Neuharth is a 1950 graduate of USD.

Neuharth will present the award, which consists of a sculpture and a $10,000 honorarium, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Doors will be open at 6:30 p.m. and the public is invited. During the presentation, Curley will give a lecture and respond to audience questions.

Tom Curley is the original news staffer on the project that led to the creation of USA TODAY in September 1982. Curley was assigned in 1979 by then Gannett Co. Chairman Al Neuharth to study the feasibility of a national newspaper. He later worked in every department of the newspaper. In 1986, he became the newspaper’s sixth president and in 1991 added the title of publisher.

"As USA TODAY celebrates its 20th anniversary, we salute Tom Curley’s drive and leadership that has made this the biggest circulation newspaper in the country," Neuharth said. "Under Tom’s watch USA TODAY not only became highly successful financially but also has steadily improved in journalistic excellence. His achievement is enormous."

USA TODAY circulation under Curley has grown to more than 2.3 million a day. The newspaper has launched four national programs recognizing individual achievement in education: academic All-Star teams for the nation’s high schools, two-year colleges and four-year colleges and to honor the best teachers.

Curley began his journalism career at age 15 covering high school basketball for his hometown Easton, Pa., Express. He continued working for newspapers during college and joined Gannett’s Rochester, N.Y., Times-Union in 1972 as night city/suburban editor. He became director of information for Gannett in 1976 and began coordinating Gannett’s newspaper research projects, which produced more than 50,000 interviews on media use. He became editor of Gannett’s Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin in 1982, publisher of The Courier-News at Bridgewater, N.J., in 1983 and returned to USA TODAY in 1985.

Born July 6, 1948, in Easton, Pa., Curley’s family includes his wife, Marsha Stanley, a free-lance writer, and daughters, Laura, 24 (graduate of Pitzer College), and Melinda, 20 (sophomore, Skidmore College), of Oakton, Va. Curley’s brother, John, is former chairman of Gannett and succeeded Neuharth in that position. Tom and John Curley’s parents, both deceased, were career educators. Mother Emily was a teacher, and father John Sr. was an assistant superintendent of schools.

Curley received his B.A. in political science from La Salle University, Philadelphia, in 1970. He was editor of the student newspaper. He has served on the La Salle board of trustees since 1992 and is vice chairman. Curley earned an M.B.A. degree in management from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1977. He has been an RIT trustee since 1988 and also is board vice chairman.

Past recipients of the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism are: Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 2001; John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and award-winning journalist for The Tennessean of Nashville, 1999; Tim Russert of NBC News and Louis D. Boccardi, president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press, 1998; Cokie Roberts of ABC News, 1997; Robert MacNeil of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, 1996; Albert R. Hunt of the Wall Street Journal and Judy Woodruff of CNN, 1995; Charles Kuralt of CBS News, 1994; Larry King of CNN, 1993; Tom Brokaw of NBC News, 1992; Helen Thomas of United Press International, 1991; Carl T. Rowan, columnist and author, 1990; and Walter Cronkite of CBS News, 1989.

For more information about the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism, contact: Jack Marsh, director of the Freedom Forum Neuharth Center, 605/677-6315 or jmarsh@freedomforum.org.


'Al Neuharth's Greatest Lessons'
Commentary Remarks by Tom Curley, USA TODAY president and publisher, at University of South Dakota, Vermillion.  10.11.02