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CNN Anchor Allen Will Speak at U of M Journalism Alumni Awards Event Oct. 27

For release: September 20, 2011
For press information, contact Dan Hope, 901-326-2000 or Greg Nelson, 901-233-1844

Natalie Allen
Natalie Allen
Returning to her hometown and the university she attended for graduate studies as its Centennial approaches, the guest speaker for the University of Memphis Outstanding Journalism Alumni Awards on October 27 will be U of M alumna Natalie Allen, currently an anchor for CNN International.

Hosted by Emmy Award-winning Meteorologist Ron Childers (WMC Action News 5), the U of M Journalism Alumni Club’s annual awards dinner will honor five individuals this year. The dinner will be held at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave. A reception begins at 6 p.m., with dinner following at 7 p.m.

The club will honor CNN pioneer Will King and freelance broadcast journalist Richard Copley with the Charles E. Thornton Outstanding Alumni Award.  Former U of M Journalism professor L. Dupre Long will be presented the Herbert Lee Williams Award. Award-winning journalist and author Johanna Edwards will receive the inaugural Outstanding Young Journalism Alumni Award, and U of M journalism student John Martin will be recognized as the University’s Emerging Journalist.

Allen attended the University of Memphis for graduate studies in political science after receiving her journalism degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Starting her career at Memphis’ CBS affiliate, WREG, she became the first newsroom intern elevated to general assignments reporter while still a student. Three years later she was named co-anchor of WREG’S 10 p.m. newscast.

Allen received an Emmy and an Edgar R. Murrow Award for news reporting while working at Orlando’s WFTV. She was an anchor for CNN from 1992 to 2001, before moving to MSNBC/NBC. She was an environmental correspondent and “Forecast Earth” anchor at the Weather Channel from 2007 to 2009. She is currently a news anchor for CNN International.

Will King
Will King
Will King (BA ’74) is senior operations director for CNN International. He was an original staff member at CNN when it launched in 1980 and has been with the worldwide news organization ever since. He launched CNN International’s first bureau in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1985, building it “from the ground up” and serving as its first bureau chief.

Richard Copley
Richard Copley
Richard Copley (BS ’69) has more than 30 years’ experience as a freelance broadcast journalist, shooting documentaries, news, live shots, news features, and news magazine shows. His clients have included NBC News, the Today Show, Dateline, ABC News, Good Morning America, Primetime, CBS News, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, PBS, BBC, Harpo Productions, Roker Productions, and more.

L. Dupre Long
L. Dupre Long
L. Dupre Long (or LDL as he was known to many of his former students) taught news/editorial courses in the Journalism Department at Memphis State University from 1963 to 1982. He was known for his high journalistic standards and no-nonsense approach while teaching. Long was also a part-time copy editor for The Commercial Appeal, working alongside the award’s namesake, Herbert Lee Williams.

Johanna Edwards
Johanna Edwards
Johanna Edwards (BA ’01) is the best-selling author of novels The Next Big Thing, Your Big Break, and How to be Cool. She is also an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Us Weekly, and The Boston Globe. While a student at the U of M, she wrote for The Daily Helmsman, where she won a national Hearst Award. She is also the recipient of the U of M National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award.<</td>

John Martin, currently a U of M journalism student, was aformer sports editor for the Helmsman who was plucked by Fox Sports to be the sole reporter for their Memphis Authority website.  He still works in that capacity.

The Charles E. Thornton Award is named in honor of a Memphis journalist who was killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in 1985. The Herbert L. Williams Award is named in honor of the U of M Journalism Department’s founding chair.

Tickets to the awards presentation are $50 per person or $475 for a table of ten. The deadline for reservations is October 21.

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to reserve a table, contact Shannon Miller at 901-678-4373 or Table reservations and ticket purchases can also be made online at (Look for the “RSVP to an event” link near the bottom right corner of that page.)

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