Grady Salutes 2022 honorees celebrated at in-person event

There was laughter and tears, but mostly a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to come together for an in-person Grady Salutes celebration April 29, 2022.

The event attracted nearly 125 Grady College alumni and friends to the Athens Cotton Press for the annual recognition of Alumni Award recipients and Fellowship inductees.

Alumni Award recipients included:

Video screen picture of Julie Wolfe
Julie Wolfe accepted her Mid-Career Alumni Award via a pre-recorded taped message. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)
  • Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, who received the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award.
  • Julie Wolfe (ABJ ’03), a news director for King 5 Media Group in Seattle, who received the Mid-Career Award.
  • Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA ’96, PhD ’99), professor of public relations at Grady College, was named the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
  • Pat Curtin (MA ’91, PhD ’96), professor and endowed chair of public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, received the Distinguished Alumni Scholar award.

Wolfe was not able to attend the ceremony, but sent a video greeting noting her appreciation for the award and reflecting on lessons that David Hazinski, emeritus professor, taught her.

“Journalism is a relentless pursuit of facts, a commitment to always do the next right thing and an unwavering belief in the ethical principles of journalism,” Wolfe said in her video acceptance.

Fellowship inductees included:

  • Susan Goodenow (ABJ ’90), executive vice president, marketing & communications for the Chicago Bulls
  • Reggie Hicks (ABJ ’80), president and executive producer of Straight Street Media, Inc.
  • Bob Houghton, president, Georgia Association of Broadcasters
  • Alan Massengale (MA ’80), retired sports broadcaster

As the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Acosta-Alzuru was also inducted into the Grady Fellowship.

During the Fellowship acceptances, Goodenow reflected on how sports is more than a final score and talked about an experience a few weeks where the Chicago Bulls was able to offer Justin Hardy, a 22-year-old basketball player with cancer, an opportunity to attend a playoff game. Hardy claimed the day was one of the best of his life, and Goodenow reflected on how moments like that reminds her and all involved with sports what a privileged spot they hold.

“I want to thank Georgia and I want to thank Grady for putting me on a path that allowed me to have amazing experiences and meet incredible people, like Justin and his family,” Goodenow said.

Stevie Joe Massengale
Stevie Joe Massengale accepts the Fellowship honor on behalf of her father, Alan Massengale, as Alan’s wife, Elizabeth, looks on. Alan died March 12, 2022. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Perhaps the most moving acceptance of the night was by Stevie Joe Massengale, Alan’s teenage daughter who was accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth. Alan died of cancer on March 12, after learning he would be inducted into the Fellowship, and his daughter commented about how excited he was about the honor.

“He inspired many and of course, he inspired me,” she said.  “Your legacy lives on because you are larger than life.”

The Rollin “Pete” McCommons Award for Distinguished Community Journalism was presented to Larry Hobbs, a reporter for The Brunswick News. The award, recognizing work in 2020, was presented to Hobbs for his dedicated reporting about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, starting the day after his murder, and continuing throughout the trial.

“Truth more often thrives in communities where newspapers abide,” Hobbs said as he accepted the award. “Those in positions of public trust are held accountable when newspapers simply do their jobs. When an ugly truth hid behind the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, The Brunswick News did its job. We covered this sad story relentlessly from the day it occurred right up until justice was served in both state and federal courts. We owed that to our community, and to Ahmaud and to his family.”

Nominations for next year’s class of Alumni Awards recipients are now accepted and can be submitted on the Alumni Awards nomination form.

  • Larry Hobbs of The Brunswick News accepted the McCommons Award for Distinguished Community Journalism. (Photo: Sydney Fordice)

See our Grady Salutes 2022 Flickr album for more pictures.

Alumni Award Profile: Julie Wolfe

Julie Wolfe’s (ABJ ’03) path to the news director’s chair at Seattle’s legacy television station KING 5 started at the University of Georgia, where she was president of DiGamma Kappa and news director at WUOG. She started her career as a reporter at KGWN in Cheyenne, WY, WGRZ in Buffalo, NY, and WXIA in Atlanta. When social media bloomed as a publishing platform, Wolfe turned her attention to digital journalism, taking on the roles of social media manager and then digital director at WXIA, before becoming the assistant news director. 

She took over as news director at WHAS in Louisville in 2018, leading the team through award-winning coverage of the Breonna Taylor case and launching its Emmy-winning investigative unit, FOCUS. Wolfe has been the news director at KING 5 in Seattle since June 2021. She served as a board member of RTDNA and is a graduate of The Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism and the Center for Creative Leadership.

Following is a brief interview with Wolfe:

GC: What skill(s) should graduates and young alumni focus on to have success early in their careers? 

JW: Relentless optimism. You need both. Optimism without relentlessness is just wearing rose-colored glasses. Young journalists need to remember that what they do is important, and when done well, has a lasting and positive impact on their community.

Wolfe organizing live wall-to-wall coverage as news director at WHAS in Louisville. (Photo: submitted)
GC: What is it about the broadcast news field that appeals the most to you? Why did you decide to enter that field?

JW: I’m one of those people who knew what I wanted to do from the time I was young. The idea of telling important stories that helps people make more informed decisions was something I felt I could dedicate a career to pursuing. Every day is different, and there is nothing that compares to the energy and adrenaline of a group of journalists working together on a big news day. 

GC: What do you miss the most about being at UGA?

JW: I made lifetime friends during my time at UGA. Now, more than 20 years later, we’re spread around the country, but still support each other and cheer for the Dawgs. 

Wolfe with a group of KING 5 journalists outside KING 5 studios in Seattle, WA. (Photo: submitted)
GC: What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

JW: It’s okay to take a breath, a moment, a year. I was in such a hurry to get to the next step at every phase of my career, I look back and realize I didn’t always get the most out of where I was before moving to the next chapter. Right now, at 20 years old, you’re building who you ARE. There’s plenty of time to build what you’ll DO.

GC: What does this recognition mean to you?

JW: When Dean Davis called me about the award, I was so overwhelmed. It’s a difficult time to be a journalist. As a leader in journalism right now, I feel a huge responsibility to leave our industry in a better place: a place where we can continue to do important and vital work, dedicated to facts. A recognition at mid-career is a nod that you’ve done some things but have a lot more to do. It’s a position I’m embracing, and this celebration, to me, is a reminder that there is so much work left to be done. 

GC: What are your best strategies for keeping up to date with industry advancements?
Wolfe with Sr. Assignment Editor Kendra Gilbert KING 5. (Photo: submitted)

JW: Consuming news on all platforms exposes me to up-to-date information, but also creative and interesting ways to communicate that information. I’m an avid podcast listener so I can multitask. I also consume much of my news on mobile, and I think there’s still a lot of interactive presentation work to do on how we present news on the platform where people are consuming on the go. With Neilson now including BBO homes  (Broadband Only), we’re better poised to understand how viewers are watching local news on those platforms. While it’s important to keep searching for the best ways to use technology to collect, understand and deliver news, it’s also important to me that LOCAL JOURNALISM remains at the center of those advancements.

GC: Is there anything else you would like to share?

JW: Grady College of Journalism will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where the seeds of this career, this life, were first planted. Because of the great professors and great experiences I had then, I’ve built a fulfilling journalism career on that foundation.

This is one in a series of profiles about our 2022 Alumni Award honorees and Fellowship inductees. 
All our honorees and inductees will be honored at Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 29, 2022 at Athens Cotton Press. Please visit our Grady Salutes registration webpage for more details. 


Grady College announces 2022 Alumni Award recipients

Grady College is proud to announce honorees for its annual alumni awards, recognizing alumni who have established a tradition of service and achievement in their careers.

Alumni Award recipients will be recognized at the College’s annual recognition event, Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on Friday, April 29, 2022. Inductees into the Grady Fellowship also will be recognized at Grady Salutes.

The 2022 Alumni Award recipients include:

  • Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, will receive the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. Carpenter previously worked at CNN and The Washington Post, and her byline has appeared in Glamour, Vogue, New York magazine and other publications. The Young Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career.
  • Julie Wolfe (ABJ ’03), a news director for King 5 Media Group in Seattle, receives the Mid-Career Award. Stations where Wolfe has previously worked include WGRZ in Buffalo, New York; WXIA in Atlanta; and WHAS in Louisville, where she led the news team through award-winning coverage of the Breonna Taylor case and launched its Emmy-winning investigative unit, FOCUS. The Mid-Career Award is presented to a graduate for his or her professional achievements, influence and success.
  • Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA ’96, PhD ’99), professor of public relations at Grady College, is named the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award winner for sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career. Acosta-Alzuru teaches courses in public relations campaigns and cultural studies, among others. She is an internationally recognized scholar on telenovelas and has written several books on the subject. Grady College has recognized its Lifetime Achievement recipient for more than 45 years.
  • Pat Curtin (MA ’91, PhD ’96), professor and endowed chair of public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, receives the Distinguished Alumni Scholar award. Curtin has previously taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research encompasses cross-cultural public relations, public relations history and the development of critical/postmodern approaches to public relations theory. The Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award honors a graduate for excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education.

More information about the alumni awards and a list of past recipients can be viewed on the Alumni Awards webpage.

Register here for the for the Grady Salutes celebration on April 29, 2022. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.