ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of his commitment to independent journalism and public-interest reporting through innovative funding channels, The Poynter Institute will present H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest with Poynter's 2016 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award at its annual Bowtie Ball. The Distinguished Service to Journalism Award is bestowed upon an individual who has championed the goals and craft of journalism through actionable efforts or meritorious service. The Ball will also honor broadcasting icon Tom Brokaw with the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
In January 2016, Lenfest, as its former owner and publisher, donated Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) to the Institute for Journalism in New Media, a non-profit organization that now operates The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. This donation was completed to ensure the future of quality, independent journalism in Philadelphia and beyond.
"Gerry's donation of the two largest newspapers in Philadelphia, as well as the top news site in the city, is reminiscent of the actions of Nelson Poynter, who created a media institute more than 40 years ago to ensure the independence of his newspaper in the Tampa Bay region," said Tim Franklin, president of The Poynter Institute. "Now named in his honor, The Poynter Institute is the owner of the Tampa Bay (formerly St. Petersburg) Times. The vision of both of these media innovators ensures the vitality of a free and independent press in our democracy."
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest was raised in the Northeastern corridor of the United States – particularly in Scarsdale, New York, and Hunterdon County, New Jersey. A graduate of Mercersburg Academy, Washington and Lee University and Columbia Law School, he served in the United States Navy and retired as Captain. Following graduation from law school, he practiced law with Davis Polk in New York City before joining Philadelphia-based Triangle Publications, Inc., a large, privately owned communications company led by legendary publisher Walter Annenberg. Lenfest went on to become managing director of Triangle's Communications Division, serving as editorial director and publisher of Seventeen magazine and as president of its cable television companies. In 1974, he formed Lenfest Communications, Inc., which eventually grew to more than 1.2 million subscribers and was one of the top cable television companies in the United States. In January 2000, the cable television operations of Lenfest Communications were transferred to Comcast Corporation. Today, he and his wife, Marguerite, live a philanthropically-centered life and have made significant gifts to a wide range of educational and cultural organizations, including the Curtis Institute of Music and Museum of the American Revolution.
The Bowtie Ball will take place on December 9, 2016, at the Hilton Carillon in St. Petersburg. For tickets or more information, please visit www.poynter.org/thebowtieball.
About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, www.newsu.org, offers the world's largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 330,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute's website, www.poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world's top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.
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The Poynter Institute
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SOURCE The Poynter Institute