A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Long-time Kentucky journalist, political commentator Al Cross joins KyForward as regular columnist

Al Cross, a Kentucky journalist with a long, distinguished career, has joined KyForward as a regular columnist.

His column will appear at least twice-monthly at KyForward and its sister publication, NKyTribune.com, and is offered to publications throughout the Commonwealth, free of charge with attribution. KyForward and NKyTribune are published by the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

“We greatly value Al Cross’ experience,” said Jacob Clabes, editor of KyForward. “We are pleased to offer a permanent home base for his column — and to offer it at no charge to publications in Kentucky, with attribution to the source.”

Al Cross

Cross has a storied reputation in Kentucky, having started his journalism career for the Clinton County News and announcer at WANY in Albany, starting at age 13. As a graduate of Western Kentucky University, he became editor of the Reporter in Monticello in 1975, assistant managing editor of the Leitchfield Gazette and the Grayson County New-Gazette in 1977.

He began to establish a statewide reputation when he established the Louisville Courier Journal’s Somerset bureau in May 1978, moving with it to Bardstown in 1979 when it became the Central Kentucky Bureau. He covered legislative sessions from 1980 to 2004. In Louisville in 1984-86, he covered education, transportation, and politics. He joined the C-j’s Frankfort Bureau in 1987 and became political writer in 1989.

He is currently director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media where he is also a professor.

As director, Cross is editor and publisher of three publications: the Midway Messenger, a mostly online newspaper that he and his Community Journalism students produce for a small town; Kentucky Health News, which covers health in a state with poor health status; and The Rural Blog, a daily digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America.

Cross helped organize the Institute, which has academic partners at 25 universities in 17 states. He became its director in 2004, after more than 26 years as a reporter at the Courier Journal, the last 15½ as chief political writer. He is also a political commentator for Kentucky Educational Television.

His awards include the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame (2010), the James Madison First Amendment Award of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at UK (2015), the media awards of the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation (2006) and the Kentucky Psychological Association (2013), and a share of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize won by The Courier-Journal staff for coverage of the nation’s deadliest bus and drunk-driving crash. He shared an investigative reporting award in the Southern Journalism Awards for a 1987 series on surface mining, including some of the first comprehensive stories on mountaintop-removal mining.

In 2011 he received the Wells Key, the top honor of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s oldest, broadest and largest journalism organization. He was national SPJ president in 2001-02 and has received awards for his work from SPJ’s Louisville Chapter. He is secretary of the Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee, a non-profit, non-partisan organization.

See Al Cross’ first column here.

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