Ken Winter

Outstanding Alumni Award

Ken Winter has given a lifetime of commitment to the highest standards of journalism - from being a 14-year old reporter to becoming publisher of one of northern Michigan's largest and best daily newspapers the Petoskey News Review. His newspapers repeatedly were judged the best in their circulation category in national and state contests.

Winter set a standard for aggressive, yet compassionate, community news coverage. He insisted that his newspapers hold public officials accountable for their actions. Yet, he also recognized the importance of public service leadership. For his dedication, Ken twice served on nominating juries for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Winter was tough, but fair and the list of solid "watchdog journalism" by his staff is extensive. For example, the News-Review forced a District Court judge to resign after revealing he was running a boat company from a phone in his courthouse; made a county prosecutor reveal the name of an accused criminal he wanted to keep secret because of his prominence and popularity in town; and took on a school district for paying a public information director nearly $100,000 while schools were laying off teachers and making massive budget cuts. And along the way, he fought the usual lawsuits filed by those opposed to openness and accountability.

Winter also has distinguished himself in the field of education as an instructor for Michigan State University and North Central Michigan Community College, in Petoskey. He received the 2010 Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.

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