Gregory Moore, editor of The Denver Post, and Sherrie Marshall, editor of The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, are the recipients of the 10th annual Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership, sponsored by the Associated Press Media Editors.
The awards are given annually to individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, former managing editor of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and a graduate of Kent State University. McGruder died of cancer in April 2002. A past president of APME and former member of ASNE's Board of Directors, McGruder was a relentless diversity champion.
This year, the 10th annual awards were sponsored by the Free Press, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the Freedom Forum.
The winners were recognized Thursday at the annual APME conference in Denver. The honorees each received $2,500 and a leadership trophy.
Moore and Marshall were honored for their longstanding commitment to diversity in newspaper content and in newsroom recruiting and staff development.
"Both of our winners reflect the legacy of Bob McGruder," said Hollis Towns, outgoing APME president and executive editor of the Asbury Park Press and New Jersey Press Media. "They have embraced diversity in their newsrooms in spite of the challenges the industry has had to endure and they have elevated the attention to diversity in their newspapers."
In the nominating letter for Marshall, nominators Jean Fox Alston, vice president/foundation for the Newspaper Association of America, and Reginald Stuart, corporate recruiter for the McClatchy Co., wrote: "Regardless of the economic times, Sherrie has made it her business to keep diversity in news coverage and staffing atop her agenda. On the recruiting front, she made it her business to participate in journalism events and to network with aspiring and early career prospects as well as peer colleagues. She gladly took on students for paid internships, knowing those early experiences are priceless.
"She breathes it, as Bob did. She lives it, as Bob did! Through three publishers, two owners, flush and lean times, Sherrie Marshall has remained consistent in her dedication to diversity."
George McCanless, president and publisher of the Telegraph, said of Marshall, "Macon is a unique place, a town full of historical significance and simmering racial discord. As editor of The Telegraph, Sherrie plays a pivotal role in our efforts to try to mitigate the racial animosity in our community in order to help foster a more collaborative and constructive dialog among our residents. Internally, Sherrie maintains her focus on our diversity objectives despite our industry's ongoing economic challenges, and serves as both a role model and mentor to our journalists of color."
Marshall joined The Telegraph in February 2001, after working for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 22 years, her last position being deputy managing editor.
The nomination for Moore pointed to his career-long commitment to diversity in each of the newsrooms he has worked in.
"I've known Greg for more than two decades and in every market he's worked in as a reporter and editor – Dayton, Cleveland, Boston and Denver – he's left visible signs of his diversity leadership. He leads through words, actions and personal examples," said Mark Russell, editor of the Orlando Sentinel, who worked for Moore at the Globe.
Moore was named editor of The Denver Post in June 2002.
"And he quickly put a stamp on the largest newsroom in Colorado," Russell said. "Call it the Moore effect: He promised to shake things up, and promptly set about doing that. And, all the while, he kept diversity front and center as a way to improve the journalism and connect with the increasingly diverse Denver area. When Greg arrived, the Post staff was about 16 percent minority. He quickly set out to improve the staff and he's made diversity a cornerstone of his hires."
Moore's work in Denver represents a commitment to diversity that has been a hallmark of his career. Before joining The Post, Moore had been the managing editor of the Boston Globe for nearly eight years. He began his career in 1976 at the Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio. Before becoming editor, he worked as a reporter covering crime, education, politics and government.
A native of Cleveland, Moore joined the Globe in April 1986 after six years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. It was his hometown paper that began his editing career, first as state political editor in 1982 and later as day city editor.
Adrian Walker, a featured Globe metro columnist who was Moore's second hire as Metro editor in 1989, recalls that when he was hired the Globe suffered both from a lack of diversity and from Boston's image as a place that professionals of color would do well to avoid. "Not only did he substantially increase the diversity of the metro staff, he did more than anyone to reverse the image of the Globe as unwelcoming to people of color," Walker said.
The 2011 judges included representatives of the Freedom Forum, Detroit Free Press, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the American Society of News Editors. Jurors assessed the nominees based on their significant contribution during a given year or over a number of years to furthering the cause of diversity in content and in recruiting, developing and retaining journalists of color.