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March 26, 2024

Nominations sought for the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism by April 15

By Al Cross

The Gish Family - Pat, Tom and Ben

The Gish Family - Pat, Tom and Ben

Each year the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog, presents the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism, named for the couple who exemplified those qualities as publishers of The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for 52 years. 

Nominations for the Gish Award may be made at any time, but the deadline for new nominations to be considered for this year's award is April 15. To make a nomination, send a detailed letter with some documentation explaining how the nominee shows the kind of courage, tenacity and integrity that Tom and Pat Gish demonstrated at their weekly newspaper in the Central Appalachian coalfield. They withstood advertiser boycotts, business competition, declining population, personal attacks, and even the burning of their office to give their readers the kind of journalism often lacking in rural areas, and were the first winners of the award named for them. Tom died in 2008 and Pat in 2014; their son Ben is editor and publisher of the Eagle and serves on the award selection committee. 

Additional documentation may be submitted after the nomination, and may be requested or required. Send your nominating letter, initial documentation and any questions to Institute Director Benjy Hamm at

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