CLA alums among writers, journalists to be honored at awards luncheon

Five veteran media professionals have been selected to receive awards from the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council. They will be recognized with an awards ceremony on Sept. 15. 

The 2017 recipients are: award-winning broadcast news producer Don Moseley, magazine industry veteran Kay Acton, sports journalist Mark Murphy, long-time executive director of the Alabama Press Association and journalism faculty member at the University of Alabama Bill Keller, and best-selling author Tim Dorsey.

The annual awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National on Friday, Sept. 15. Hosted by the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council, the luncheon and program begin at 11:30 a.m. and tickets cost $35 each.

Don Moseley is the recipient of the Roy Bain Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism. Moseley, a director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University, has a long and distinguished broadcast journalism career. He has served as an award-winning news producer for WMAQ-TV in Chicago before spending several years as a producer for CBS News, where he contributed stories to "60 Minutes," "CBS Evening News," "48 Hours," and other programs. Moseley has been honored with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award twice, most recently in 2016 for his role in a WMAQ investigative report on the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Kay Acton is the recipient of the Distinguished Auburn University Journalism Alumnus Award. She is a 1984 graduate in public relations/journalism, and has been associated with some of the magazine industry’s most popular titles through her work with Southern Progress. Acton first distinguished herself as editor of Weight Watchers magazine. She brought new life to the magazine, reversed a decline in circulation, and earned a “most improved” award for the magazine from the Association for Women in Communication. After that, she became executive editor, and then vice president and editor-in-chief for Coastal Living magazine. Under her years of leadership, Coastal Living magazine won editorial excellence awards and was recognized for its cultural popularity. More recently, she has served as a magazine consultant, a member of several journalism-related advisory committees for Auburn, and a generous supporter of the Auburn journalism program.

Bill Keller is the recipient of the Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist Award. His impact on Alabama journalism is measured in three distinct roles: as a newspaper journalist, executive director of the Alabama Press Association, and faculty member at the University of Alabama. He was managing editor for the Sand Mountain Reporter, reporter for the Tuscaloosa News, and editor/publisher of the Talladega Daily Home before becoming executive director of the Alabama Press Association. There, he was a strong advocate for open courts and the rights of journalists, particularly at the college level. Since 2004, he has been inspiring the next generation of news professionals at the University of Alabama. He teaches news writing and reporting, and coordinates the master’s degree in community journalism that the University offers through the Anniston Star.

Mark Murphy is the recipient of the Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist Award. A native of Auburn, Murphy has served the community of Auburn sports fans for the past 36 years as editor and publisher of Inside the Auburn Tigers. He has also navigated the publication through the print to online and social media transition, and then to its current relationship with the sports publishing company. A former sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman, Murphy was sports editor at the Selma Times-Journal for a year and worked with the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer for six years before joining Inside the Auburn Tigers.

Tim Dorsey is the recipient of the Distinguished Mass Media Achievement Award. Following a stint in newspaper journalism, Dorsey embarked on a career writing popular novels that combine south Florida satire with the escapades of Serge Storms, a character who has been described as a serial killer with a strong sense of justice. Through 23 novels, Dorsey has captivated a growing and loyal following with his books. His book signings and readings are lively parties, often featuring live music. Dorsey served as editor of The Auburn Plainsman student newspaper from 1982-83. After graduation, he worked for the Montgomery Advertiser and Tampa Tribune, rising to night metro editor before his first book was published and he devoted himself full time to his career as a novelist. 

The Auburn University (AU) Journalism Advisory Council established these awards in 2004 to recognize and celebrate the best and most enduring professionals in the field, both in this state and those outside it with Alabama roots. Only the AU Journalism Alumnus award must go to someone with Auburn connections.

“I am amazed at how, year after year, we continue to highlight so many great professionals who represent our school and state so well,” said John Carvalho, associate director for journalism in the School of Communication and Journalism. “With journalism under fire from so many fronts, it’s encouraging to see how many hard-working and deserving folks are out there.”

For more information on the program, or to attend, contact John Carvalho at 334-844-4454, or e-mail him at


Last Updated: August 21, 2017