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Institute co-founder publishes memoir and is honored for remarkable life in journalism

Wordsmith by Al SmithAlbert P. Smith Jr., who turned his life around as a rural journalist and co-founded the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, has published a long-awaited autobiography to highly favorable reviews. (H-L photo by Charles Bertram)

"Al Smith and his contemporaries had to constantly balance muckraking reporter and crusading editor with a publisher’s mandates to grow his business and promote the community it served," former big-city editor Jim Squires writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Smith eagerly grasped the role of 'engaged journalist,' which to him entailed doing whatever it took to make good things happen." To read more reviews, click here.

To order the book, go here; to donate $10 of the cost to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, enter this coupon code: SmithIRJ.

In 2011, Smith was recognized for his service to community and rural journalism as the namesake and inaugural recipient of the Al Smith Award presented by the Institute and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. To read about the Al Smith Award for public service through community journalism in Kentucky, or anywhere by a current or former Kentuckian, click here.

Smith was awarded the 2011 James Madison Award for service to the First Amendment by the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center in the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications in November 2011. In accepting the award, Smith recounted what he called his "first experience with the practice of the First Amendment," publication of an editorial in his military-school newspaper in Lebanon, Tenn., during World War II, "attacking the Jim Crow laws that forced Negro soldiers to stand beside empty seates in the white sections of buses," as he recalls in his book. "We got away with it," he told the crowd, "because a teacher stood up for freedom of the press." He says in the book that the teacher, Capt. J.B. Leftwich, "had the guts to print it 10 years before Brown V. Board of Education." To read KyForward's coverage of the event, click here.

Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues
School of Journalism and Telecommunications, College of Communications & Information Studies
122 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042
Phone 859-257-3744 - Fax 859-323-3168

Al Cross, director al.cross@uky.edu