R. John Mitchell, the publisher of the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, received the Yankee Quill Award for a lifetime of service in journalism from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors in a ceremony on Nov. 15 in Lowell, Mass.
The Yankee Quill Award is given in honor of contributions to a free press, efforts to improve the communities they serve, and a lifetime achievement of those who have had a broad influence for good, both inside and outside the newsroom.
“Mitchell was noted for his career contributions to Vermont journalism through advocacy for open government and editorial courage that included his Rutland paper winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for a series of editorials on civil unions,” the award committee said in a press release. “At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal, to take a position on the issues, because that’s what we did, that’s the way I was brought into this by my father,” Mitchell said of the Pulitzer. “Good community journalism is rational, thoughtful and takes a stand on issues that matter.”
The award also honored his work in other areas of newspapers including training ad sales staff across New England, working to protect freedom of speech and lobbying on behalf of newspapers.
Mitchell began his career in the advertising department at the Rutland Herald in 1965, including stints in the pressroom, circulation, the newsroom and the business side of things.
Also honored with the award were Jack Williams of WBZ-TV news in Boston, Robert Schrepf, editorial writer for the Hartford Courant, Robert Turner, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor for the Boston Globe and Robert Giles, head of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.
Mitchell is the 14th Vermonter to receive the honor and this is the second time he has accepted the award. In 1993, he accepted the posthumous award for his father Robert W. Mitchell, who was the first Vermonter so honored.
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