A scandal ensnaring one of the Southwest’s most prestigious journalism awards may extend back two more years than previously thought, officials with The Press Club of Dallas said
The entries for the 2006 Katie Awards apparently never went before judges, and competitions from 2004 and 2005 are also under investigation, said club President Tom Stewart.
Stewart said he believes the competitions might have been rigged by the club’s former leader, who has won 10 Katies in the last four years and has a criminal history of passing bad checks and a personal history of erratic behavior.
Former press club president Elizabeth Albanese was fired Saturday — after the scandal became public — from her job as vice president of communications for First Southwest Co., an investment banking firm in Dallas, the company’s general counsel said Monday.
The Associated Press is considering returning its Katie Awards if they prove to be tainted, said Dale Leach, the Texas bureau chief. “If any of the contest awards are deemed to be fraudulent due to lack of judging, The AP would return any of the awards they received,” Leach said. “I think we would be very reluctant to participate in the future without far greater assurances that the contest is legitimate.”
The club is considering whether to cancel the 2007 Katie Awards, which have been distributed for 48 years to reward the top work by journalists and communications professionals in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Stewart also said the club is considering refunding entry fees to organizations that submitted work to the competition.
The 2006 Katies are probably “bogus,” Stewart said, because Albanese has not been able to produce names of any judges.
Note: Just about every news organization in Houston have taken part in the awards.