Knight Ridder home | features | briefly | quality journalism | careers | portfolio | spotlight | update
contact us

From left to right: Ricky Mathews, Grace Thomson, Vance Lehmkuhl, Hannah Allam, Dan Auxter, Pat Royal, Dave Bauer, Devon Goetz, Warren Blankenburg, Andrea Mathewson, Tom Lasseter, Mary Ann Lindley, Dennis Wichterman, Trisha O'Connor and Don Olmstead.

James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Awards
Honor Outstanding Employees

Each year, Knight Ridder honors individuals from throughout the company for their outstanding performance and their ability to inspire excellence in others. Employees are nominated by their newspaper or company.

Winners receive a cash prize, stock options and a trophy, and are invited to an awards dinner with Knight Ridder’s Board of Directors and officers.

A 10-member judging panel led by Joan Ridder Challinor, member of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and a retired Knight Ridder Board member, selected the winners. Other panel members were Ken Bunting, executive editor, Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Don E. Carter, retired vice president, Knight Ridder; Dr. Virginia Dodge Fielder, retired vice president, Knight Ridder; Larry Jinks, retired senior vice president, Knight Ridder, and retired publisher, San Jose Mercury News; Steve Montiel, director, Institute for Justice and Journalism, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California; Linda O’Bryon, senior vice president, Nightly Business Report/WPBT; Orage Quarles, publisher, The (Raleigh) News & Observer; Chris Urban, president, Urban & Associates; and Bill Winter, president, William Winter and Associates.

On to the winners! >>

John Shively Knight
When John S. Knight died in 1981, he left behind a newspaper empire that had grown from his father’s Akron Beacon Journal into a national company that merged with Ridder Publications to form Knight Ridder.

He left much more. John S. Knight was known throughout the newspaper industry as a journalistic giant. A shrewd businessman, he was also a writer’s journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Editor’s Notebook, a column he wrote for almost 40 years.

Knight had an incredible knack for hiring talented people and letting them do their jobs, and he lived his motto, “Get the truth and print it.”

It is for John S. Knight, and all that he stood for, that Knight Ridder’s highest Excellence Award is named.


James K. Batten
The James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Awards are named for the man who created them in 1987, former Chairman and CEO Jim Batten.

Batten emphasized the need for employees – and the company – to be able to change with the demands of a fast-changing world, and to strive to exceed customers’ expectations. And he wanted to salute employees for things they had done to bring honor to themselves and the company.

Shortly before Batten’s death in 1995, Grand Forks Herald Editor Mike Jacobs spoke at a meeting of Knight Ridder editors about his influence: “Jim Batten touches all of us. He reaches into each of us and brings more out of us than any of us know we have to give. He calls out excellence. His example makes us better than we dare hope to be.”

Profiles of Winners

John S. Knight Gold Medal
Hannah Allam

Special Citation
Staff, Biloxi Sun Herald

General Excellence
Andrea Mathewson
Don Olmstead
Mary Ann Lindley
Dennis Wichterman

Innovation Excellence
Vanch Lehmkuhl

Journalism Excellence
Tom Lasseter

Marketing Excellence
Pat Royal
Grace Thomson

Operational Excellence
Dan Auxter
Dave Bauer
Warren Blankenburg

People Development Excellence
Devon Goetz
Trisha O'Connor


Video Reporting:
Images With Sound and Motion

Photographers and reporters are mastering a multitude of skills to create online projects that reach readers in new ways.
Biloxi: Pulitzer Gold
The Sun Herald won the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service for its incredible performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Is This Cool or What?
Innovative technology is helping newspapers experiment with new ways to package and deliver content.
Classic Excellence
Meet the winners of the 19th annual James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Awards competition.