By: Dave Astor
Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award Friday night at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) conference.
The Canadian writer was recognized for helping to raise millions of dollars for various charitable enterprises in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “I do this in a community I grew up in and that formed me,” she said. “I owe it a debt.”
Reynolds runs Pennies from Heaven, which helps provide food and toys for poor families at Christmas; co-hosts the Variety Telethon, which raises money for mentally and physically challenged children; was co-chair of the capital committee for a hospital; has been involved in Heart and Stroke Association fundraising efforts; and more.
She received the award from Kem Rogers, grandson of humorist/columnist Will Rogers.
The humanitarian award is the brainchild of Robert Haught, columnist for The Daily Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. The first winner, in 2000, was Jeffrey Zaslow — then with the Chicago Sun-Times and now with The Wall Street Journal. Subsequent winners included Tim Chavez of The Tennessean in Nashville, Dave Lieber of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Stu Bykofsky of The Philadelphia Daily News, and Sheila Stroup of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
Also honored Friday night was Matt Barnwell as best college columnist. He recently graduated from the University of Georgia, where he wrote for The Red and Black newspaper. Barnwell received $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the conference.
The NSNC held an auction Friday night to raise money for future college columnist winners. Among the items sold was a basket of books authored by Pete Hamill (they fetched $300). Hamill, who will receive the NSNC’s lifetime achievement award Saturday night, was in the audience and serenaded with a cake and “happy birthday” song as he turned 70.