OXFORD, Miss. – The New York Times has a history of hiring Southern journalists. It’s a relationship that began in the 1960s during the civil rights era with Mississippi native Turner Catledge, who became the paper’s first executive editor, and continues today with Greg Brock, senior editor for standards for the past six years.
Brock, a native of Crystal Springs, will accept the 2012 Sam Talbert Silver Em Award on Thursday (Oct. 11) from the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Once again, Brock is following in the footsteps of Catledge, who won the prestigious award in 1959.
“We Southerners have quite a rich history with the Times,” Brock said. “Turner was without a doubt a bigwig here, but there’s also John Herber and Bill Kovoch and others who went on to become award-winning reporters.”
Brock, a 1975 Ole Miss graduate, began his journalism career with an internship at The Palm Beach Post.”I was definitely a country boy back then,” said Brock, 59. “I was more worried about my accent than my skills because Ole Miss had prepared me well.”
Brock moved to North Carolina from West Palm Beach, Fla., and worked seven years at the Charlotte Observer. In 1984, he found his way to The Washington Post, where he worked for nine years, holding a number of editing posts, including front-page news editor, before joining The New York Times in 1995.
Will Norton, dean of the Ole Miss journalism school, remembers Brock as a student journalist.
“Greg Brock was the managing editor of The Daily Mississippian at a time when most of the staff graduated and rose to top positions in newspapers throughout the United States,” Norton said. “Greg was the energizer and organizer of that newspaper, and he edited Mississippi Magazine the spring of his senior year, producing an exceptional publication that covered major issues and personalities in the state. His savvy as a journalist was beyond his years, and his enthusiasm was contagious.”
The Silver Em is presented annually to a Mississippi-connected journalist whose career has exhibited “the highest tenets of honorable, public service journalism, inside or outside the state,” Norton said.
Before Brock’s assignment in Manhattan, he served The New York Times as Washington news editor, overseeing the Times’ day-to-day coverage of the White House, Congress and the federal government by a staff of 35 reporters and eight editors.
In 1995, Brock served as deputy political editor/national, helping direct coverage of the 1996 presidential elections. During the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was serving as news editor on the International Desk and was also in that job when the war in Afghanistan began.
Brock worked with The Washington Post for nine years, holding a number of editing posts, including front-page news editor. While at the Post, he was chosen as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard for the 1994 academic year. He still serves on the Nieman Foundation Advisory Board.
He is also active in the Campus Newspaper Program, traveling to universities as a consultant and resource for campus publications on behalf of The New York Times.
At Ole Miss, Brock was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and was named Sigma Delta Chi Outstanding Graduate in Journalism after serving as president of the student chapter.
Other Silver Em winners include former presidential press secretary Larry Speakes, nationally syndicated columnists William Raspberry and Rheta Grimsley Johnson, former New York Times editor Turner Catledge, former Lexington Enterprise publisher Hazel Brannon Smith and Charles Overby, chairman and CEO of the Freedom Forum.
The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009 as a result of an endowment gift from Ed and Becky Meek. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in both journalism and integrated marketing communications on the Oxford campus and in coordination with satellite campuses in Southaven, Tupelo and Grenada.
For more information contact Charlie Mitchell at 662-915-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the School of Journalism at Ole Miss.