Former Times Publishing Co. chairman Nelson Poynter and current chairman and chief executive officer Paul Tash were among 15 journalists who received the Indiana University School of Journalism's Distinguished Alumni Award on Friday in Bloomington, Ind.
Thomas French, a former St. Petersburg Times staff writer and Pulitzer Prize winner, also received the honor.
IU gave the awards for the first time this year as part of its celebration of 100 years of journalism education at the university.
With Tash as its leader, the Times has become the dominant paper in Tampa Bay and the largest in the southeastern United States. Under his direction, the company created the free daily newspaper tbt*, tampabay.com and the fact-checking website PolitiFact.com, for which the Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
Tash, a native of South Bend, Ind., and a 1976 IU graduate, started at the Times as a summer intern in 1975. He worked as a reporter, city editor, metro editor, Washington bureau chief and executive editor before becoming chairman and CEO in 2004.
Tash is also chairman of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which owns Times Publishing. He also serves on the boards of the Pulitzer Prizes, the Associated Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and is a member of the Florida Council of 100, a group of business leaders.
Nelson Poynter received his bachelor's degree from Indiana in 1924. In addition to serving as editor and chairman of the Times, he founded Congressional Quarterly and the Modern Media Institute, which became the Poynter Institute. Poynter died in 1978.
Thomas French, who graduated from IU in 1981, spent his entire newspaper career at the Times, where he specialized in writing serial narratives. "Angels & Demons," about the murders of an Ohio woman and her two daughters, won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. In 2009, French joined the IU journalism faculty as the Riley Endowed Chair in Journalism.
Others honored with the IU award were World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle, reporter Gene Miller, who won two Pulitzer Prizes at the Miami Herald, and photographer Michel du Cille, who also won two Pulitzers at the Herald and contributed to a third at the Washington Post.