Bethany Erickson, Audience Engagement Director for Candy’s Media and former public affairs and education columnist, was named finalist for the Press Club of Dallas’ Hugh Aynesworth Awards for Texas Journalism. The competition was open to Texas reporters, columnists, editors, photographers, and videographers for their work through 2017, netting 27 finalists in 16 categories.
“We increased the number of categories this year, and we’re excited by the response,” Press Club President Paul Wahlstrom said. Entries came from journalists and their news organizations in Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Houston and smaller communities, such as Howe, a north Texas town with a population of about 2,600.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be a finalist for even one award named after a respected journalist like Hugh Aynesworth,” Erickson said. “It is also thrilling to find your work listed among some of the very best in Texas journalism, too.”
Two of Erickson’s pieces, both of which focused on the challenges that Dallas ISD faces as a large and diverse school district, were recognized. One entitled “And Now, the Hard Work of Righting Dallas’ Racial Wrongs Actually Begins,” was a column that focused on the name changes that were an outcome of discussion regarding Dallas’ Confederate monuments. The second, “Dallas ISD’s Needs Won’t Disappear, But You Can Help,” worked as a wish list of source that followed the news of Dallas ISD’s failed second attempt at putting at tax ratification election on the ballot.
“Both of the pieces that were submitted were great examples of the important conversations we continue to have with our readers about public education, as well as how that impacts the world of real estate,” Erickson said. “And it makes me so happy to see that among the finalists is the community-wide effort we facilitated — with help from our readers and the real estate community — to tangibly assist Dallas ISD classrooms on a most granular level.”
The awards dinner and ceremony will be held Dec. 1, 2018, at the Irving Convention Center, beginning at 5 p.m. and is open to the public. It will be hosted by John McCaa, longtime news anchor at WFAA TV. The competition is named for Hugh Aynesworth, an award-winning reporter and editor, whose first-hand recounting of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy resulted in his best-selling book, November 22, 1963: Witness to History. A long-time Press Club member and past president, Aynesworth is the author of several investigative books and is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.