Who We Are

The Morley Safer Award is a program of the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin. The award was created in honor of Morley Safer and in partnership with Jane Fearer Safer and Sarah Safer.

Message from the Executive Director
Don Carleton
Dr. Don Carleton, Executive Director and J.R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History

Historians do what they do because, like journalists, they want the conversation about American identities, origins, and values to remain rooted in evidence. Contemporary terms such as “fake news” and “lamestream media” demonstrate that we inhabit an era that increasingly undervalues the power of evidence—a concern for both historians and journalists. So it is with great enthusiasm and anticipation that, in partnership with Jane and Sarah Safer, the Briscoe Center launches the Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting. Celebrating and supporting the integrity, tenacity, and vibrancy of reporters like Morley has become critical to the health of our professions and perhaps even the health of our democracy.

The first annual Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting will honor those who embody Morley’s distinctive strengths: historical perspective, overlooked stories, unexpected insights, complexity, wit, and eloquence. I am grateful to Jane, Sarah, and the entire Morley Safer Award Steering Committee for their energy and guidance in this endeavor. I have been truly humbled by the positive response of so many of today’s top journalists who have agreed to serve as nominators or jurors.

In many ways, journalists are history’s first responders, which is why the Briscoe Center collects their papers, archives, and photographs. Based at The University of Texas at Austin, the news media history collection began with the papers of the legendary Walter Cronkite, and since then the center has amassed nearly three miles of archival materials across hundreds of separate collections, including the personal papers of reporters, photojournalists, and media producers, as well as over 5,000 newspaper titles and millions of photographs. Together these collections document the people, events, and ideas that have shaped America. Journalists continue to document an evolving America, and the Briscoe Center is proud to help preserve their work for future generations.

For those of you submitting material, thank you for participating in this important program and for all the work you do to ensure that the public remains both informed and challenged. I hope to see you in Manhattan this fall when we celebrate Morley’s legacy and support you as you build your own.

About the Executive Director

Don Carleton, PhD., has been executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History since its creation in 1991. From 1979 until 1991, Dr. Carleton was head of the University’s Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center. After earning his doctorate in U. S. history from the University of Houston, Carleton served as founding director of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), an urban history archives project sponsored by Rice University, the University of Houston, and the City of Houston. At HMRC, he established The Houston Review: A Journal of History and Culture of the Gulf Coast.

Dr. Carleton has published and lectured extensively in the fields of historical research methods and sources, the history of broadcast journalism, and Twentieth Century U.S. political history. He has worked as an historical consultant and lecturer in Nicaragua, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Israel, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania.

Dr. Carleton holds the University’s J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History. Listed in Who’s Who in America, he is a trustee of the Sam Rayburn Foundation and a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, Dr. Carleton also has been honored with membership in The Texas Institute of Letters, the Austin Headliners Club, and the Philosophical Society of Texas.

The Morley Safer Award Steering Committee, which is composed of academics and news media professionals as well as the Safer family, guides the administrative direction of the program. The Steering Committee determines finalists from the entries then forwards them to the jury for consideration.

The Morley Safer Award Panel of Nominators is composed of American and Canadian news media professionals across multiple platforms. Nominators seek broadcast, print, radio and digital news stories that embody Morley Safer’s commitment to original reporting grounded in historical context and informed perspective. Nominators encourage reporters who have produced that kind of work to submit their story or series of stories for consideration.

The Morley Safer Award Jury is composed of academics and news media professionals. Jurors will deliberate the finalist entries to determine the annual Morley Safer Award honoree.

Terry McDonnell

Bob Schieffer

To Be Announced

To Be Announced

To Be Announced

Morley Safer Award Project Team

Lisa Avra
Director for Development

Ashley Carr
Assistant Director for Constituent Engagement

Vanessa Nip
Project Manager for Constituent Engagement

Paul Wentzell

Ben Wright
Associate Director for Communication

David Zepeda
Assistant Director for Digital Content Strategy