Veteran journalist Peter Prichard was presented with the Al Neuharth Excellence in the Media Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in media and journalism, Oct. 9 at the University of South Dakota. The day-long celebration on the university campus in Vermillion, S.D., marked the first award presentation following the 2013 death of Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, the Newseum and the Freedom Forum.
Thursday afternoon, Prichard joined a roundtable discussion at the Al Neuharth Media Center on campus, which covered a range of topics including the role of a free press in election coverage and modern media challenges facing journalists today.
Later that evening, about 150 family members, friends, colleagues and members of the USD community gathered at the Al Neuharth Media Center for the presentation of the award. Prichard spoke about his career as a newspaperman and reflected fondly on his memories of working with Al Neuharth, calling him “the greatest executive I’ve ever worked for.”
Prichard served as president of the Newseum and Freedom Forum until January 2009, and currently is chair of the Newseum Board of Trustees. He was editor-in-chief of USA Today, the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper, from 1988 to 1995. During his tenure, USA Today won several national journalism awards, and its circulation increased from 1.4 million to 2.3 million. He is a former chair of the National Press Foundation, which provides continuing education for journalists, and also a former chair of Jesuit Volunteers International, which places young volunteers in developing nations to help the poor. He and his wife, Ann, a former book reviewer, live in Essex, Conn. They have two children and five grandchildren.