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Ole Miss’ Shepard Smith Wins Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award

By Carson McKinney
Hottytoddy.com intern
cqmckinn@go.olemiss.edu

On March 13, former Ole Miss student and Fox News Anchor Shepard “Shep” Smith received The Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award.

Shepard Smith is a current news anchor for Fox News. Photo by Alex Kroke / Fox News.

According to their website, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation presents the award to “individuals and organizations that exemplify responsible journalism and who practice their constitutionally guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.” At the award ceremony, Smith credited his principles of truth to his education at Ole Miss.

“As the late Dr. Jim Pratt told me in the halls of Farley Hall at Ole Miss back in the day in journalism school, ‘We must seek the truth, we must find the truth and we know when we know the truth we must tell the truth fully and completely as clearly and succinctly as humanly possible,’” Smith said.

Born in Holly Springs, Smith attended Ole Miss until he left the journalism program in 1987 to begin his television news career at WJHG-TV in Panama City Beach, Florida. Smith started at Fox News when it launched in 1996 and has had a successful career covering events like the death of Princess Diana, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jonathan Glenn, Executive Producer of FOX New’s Channel’s Shepard Smith Reporting, celebrated Smith’s talent in a preceding speech.

“When news is breaking or tragedy is unfolding, there is nobody I trust more to take us through it,” Glenn said. “To explain the facts, explain sometimes more importantly what we don’t yet know – and try to make sense of madness.”

Smith’s father watched his son’s award from his home in Holly Springs, and his brother attended the event in person. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace had an encounter with his brother at the event, and Wallace told Smith about the exchange during Shepard Smith Reporting the following day.

“Congratulations,” Wallace said. “Can I say quickly that we saw each other last night – you got a big award and I just, real quickly, I want to say a very distinguished man came up to me and he said ‘I want to congratulate you for being the second person who is able to beat Shep Smith verbally on a routine basis.’ I said, ‘who are you, sir?’ He said, ‘my name is Benton Smith, I’m Shep’s older brother and I did it on a regular basis. I’m the first person to be able to do it.’”

For the full video of the award, follow this link. 


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