Al Smith Award

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Bluegrass Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists established the Al Smith Award, which is presented annually for public service through community journalism in Kentucky, or anywhere by a current or former Kentuckian, with preference given to those outside metropolitan areas.
The award’s first recipient was its namesake: Albert P. Smith Jr., who owned weekly newspapers in Kentucky and Tennessee, was founding host of KET’s Comment on Kentucky and main founder of the Institute, whose national advisory board he chairs.


2011    –           Al Smith

2012    –           Jennifer P. Brown, Kentucky New Era, Hopkinsville

2012    –           Max Heath, Landmark Community Newspapers

2013    –           John Nelson, The Advocate-Messenger, Danville

2014    –           Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery, The Daily Yonder

2015    –           Carl West, The State Journal, Frankfort

2016    –           Sharon Burton, Adair County Community Voice and The Farmer’s Pride

2017    –           Larry Craig (posthumous), Green River Republican, Morgantown

2017    –           Ryan Craig, Todd County Standard, Elkton

2018    –           Stevie Lowery, The Lebanon Enterprise

2019     –          David Thompson, Kentucky Press Association