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USA Radio Networks is Award-Winning in, Like, Fantasyland

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Ginger Allen isn’t the only journalist boasting about a dubious journalism prize. On its Web site, USA Radio Networks still lists the nine Katie Awards the station received from 2004 through 2006 -- even though the Dallas Press Club, which hosted the contest, now acknowledges that its former president, Elizabeth Albanese, rigged the damn thing. Eight of those Katies, which are about as valuable as a shelf full of paperweights, were “won” by the network’s news director, Bob Morrison, a former Press Club board member who happened to be one of Albanese’s most ardent supporters.

In fact, Morrison continued to cheer lead on Albanese's behalf even after fellow Press Club board member Durhl Caussey, a syndicated columnist, revealed that Albanese used her Press Club credit card to pay for $10,000 in personal expenses, including a $1,500 hotel stay in New York City. And even after other Press Club officials questioned Albanese about who actually judged the Katie Awards, Morrison defended Albanese and attacked her critics: "Wasn’t the ambush and resignation enough," Morrison wrote in an e-mail to a board member who wanted more information from Albanese after she resigned without producing a list of judges. “You’ve done enough. Have you no decency?”

In fact, Albanese’s critics were exactly right to suspect that she rigged the journalism contest. The former Press Club president still hasn’t told anyone who the judges were, and Press Club officials say they have no reason to believe that there have been any for the last three years. So why exactly would USA Radio Network brag about an award that doesn’t mean a thing? We’ve been trying to ask Morrison that for weeks, but he keeps on dodging our calls and e-mails. But we plan to keep on pestering him until USA edits their awards page. After all, we never claimed to have decency. --Matt Pulle

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