Call – Opelika-Auburn News
Ed Williams honored for
journalism excellence at Auburn
Beaming! That is the best word to
describe Ed Williams on the day he was recognized by Auburn University for
“distinguished special achievement in journalism.” His trademark bowtie nestled
under his chin, Williams was all smiles as he and four other well-known
journalists were honored by Auburn’s Journalism Advisory Council.
I was privileged to sit at the
luncheon table beside Ed along with several other friends he had invited. Those
who glanced at my face probably did not think I was “Beaming” though inwardly I
was. I thought it a signal honor to sit beside one of the most influential
journalists ever to teach at my alma mater.
Ed is retiring next month after
teaching journalism at Auburn for 30 years. The recognition of his excellent
work at Auburn is well deserved. Hundreds of practicing journalists, now
scattered across the United States, have benefitted from Ed’s teaching skills
and his passion for excellence.
Accolades from former students have
poured in like a steady rain since Ed’s retirement was announced. They recall
that as a teacher Ed was tough but compassionate. They learned from Ed that
every person has “a story” that a good journalist can skillfully uncover. They
remember his insistence that a good writer will “omit needless words” and never
break the commandments of the AP Stylebook.
Only a few years after Lincoln was
shot I was editor of The Auburn Plainsman,
the award-winning student newspaper. For that reason I
have been very interested in the deep appreciation former Plainsman staffers have expressed for Ed. For 23 of his 30 years at
Auburn Ed served as faculty advisor to The
Plainsman. He has described that time
as “the best years of my life.” Those he advised say they learned as much about
how to live as they did about effective newswriting.
I began by referring to Ed’s beaming
face. I did not mean to suggest that he was glowing with pride in his
accomplishments like Little Jack Horner who stuck “in his thumb, pulled out a
plum and said ‘What a good boy am I.’”
None of that! Ed beams because there
is inside him an abiding joy planted there by his Creator. Ed is a good man who
believes in the goodness of God and the goodness of people. He brings out the
good in others and inspires them to believe they can make a difference in the
Ed is relaxed and comfortable in his
own skin. He does not take himself too seriously. I like the way he explains
most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between
taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is
imperative, and the second disastrous."
with his passion for journalistic excellence Ed has a passion for living his
life as an authentic disciple of Jesus Christ. The look on his face reflects
something significant that happened in his heart.
Keep on beaming good friend! Your
light is shining and it is making a difference in the lives you touch. I join
with all your friends, peers and former students in saying heartily, well done!
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