Emmy-winning broadcast journalists, a national TV critic and an accomplished journalism professor are the recipients of The Media School’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award in Journalism. The school will host a celebration of the honorees in Franklin Hall Nov. 5.
The IU Media School Alumni Board chose the recipients from a field of alumni who majored in journalism or related media fields, worked in student media or took significant coursework in journalism or media.
“This year’s class of award winners presents a great opportunity for The Media School to honor achievement across all of our media disciplines,” said James Shanahan, dean of the school. “These honorees show the reach of our school into all sectors of media life, and bode very well for the mentorship of future media stars.”
The 2016 recipients are:
Kenneth A. Beckley, BS‘62
Ken Beckley worked as a broadcast journalist for 14 years. He was part of one of the first two-person anchor teams in Indiana, at WRTV, Indianapolis, in 1970.
In 1977, Beckley became the first director of university relations for IUPUI. Later, he served as the spokesperson and executive vice president of Indianapolis-based electronics/appliances retailer H.H. Gregg.
After retiring from H.H. Gregg in 2001, Beckley was named president and CEO of the Indiana University Alumni Association, where he served from 2002 to 2007. In his retirement, Beckley has authored two novels and has remained an active supporter of IU and The Media School.
Bonnie J. Brownlee, BA’72, MA’75
Bonnie Brownlee spent 25 years serving the former School of Journalism in various roles, including associate professor, associate dean of undergraduate studies and chair of journalism.
Brownlee’s research focused on international communications, studying how communication can improve the lives of the impoverished, and she taught hundreds of students about the importance of communicating across international boundaries. She also developed and taught multiple travel courses for journalism students, including Summer in London and Media in Latin America.
Brownlee was an integral force in the journalism program’s reaccreditation in 2015 and in overseeing journalism’s transition into The Media School.
Eric Deggans, BA’90
Eric Deggans is TV critic, journalist, political commentator and author. Deggans worked at the Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, for 18 years. While at the Times, he was a member of the editorial board, wrote bylined opinion columns and worked as a TV critic and media writer.
In 2013, Deggans was named NPR’s first full-time TV critic. He also appears on various news networks, speaking on race issues in the media. Deggans’ book, Race Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words, examines how the media perpetuate prejudice.
Andy Hall, BA’82
Andy Hall won multiple awards in his 25 years as a reporter before founding the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, where he is executive director. The nonprofit center, which trains young journalists, focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues.
Hall began his journalism career at the New York Times after graduation. He reported at the Arizona Republic and the Wisconsin State Journal, holding government officials accountable and exposing injustices in the public school system.
He has received widespread recognition for his work, including National Headliner, Gerald Loeb and Inland Press Association awards. In his time at IU, Hall was editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student.
Bob Shanks, BS’54
Bob Shanks worked in television as a creator, writer and producer for more than four decades. As a programming vice president for ABC, Shanks created and developed iconic shows such as Good Morning America, The Barbara Walters Special and 20/20. He produced programs such as The Tonight Show, Candid Camera and the first three years of the Jerry Lewis Telethon. He also co-developed the Regis Philbin Morning Show.
A two-time Emmy winner, Shanks has authored several books.
The Media School will honor the recipients during a banquet in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall, the new home of the school. Dinner will be served at the start of evening, followed by presentation of the awards and a video tribute to each honoree.