Carmage Walls Commentary Prize


"We must have the courage to never connive with special interests against the interest and welfare of the mass of people that we serve. We must have the courage to do that which may be unpleasant in order to maintain the health of the whole being of the newspaper." - CARMAGE WALLS, 1974

Daily and non-daily newspapers are encouraged to nominate their best work for the annual Carmage Walls Commentary Prize. Entry forms will be available on the SNPA website by late January each year.

This annual award, to be presented during SNPA's annual News Industry Summit in the fall, recognizes outstanding commentary on local issues. It encourages thoughtful, courageous and constructive editorial page leadership on issues specifically relevant to each newspaper’s primary readership.

The prize was named for the late Benjamin Carmage Walls whose newspaper career spanned seven decades. Walls primarily owned community newspapers and advocated strong, courageous and positive editorial page leadership. His friends and associates funded the cost of the awards for the first 10 years. Southern Newspapers, Inc. – led by Lissa Walls, his daughter – has been underwriting the cost of the awards since then.

Lissa Walls
Walls says, "One positive result of the challenges facing the newspaper industry is the recognition that quality local content is essential to a newspaper's success.

"My father, Carmage Walls, believed a newspaper was a semi-public trust which should reflect and serve its community by providing constructive criticism and positive leadership. 

"Central to providing that leadership is the editorial pages of a newspaper. Editorial pages that are relevant, insightful and engaging have become the 'town hall' for a community and serve a role that no other institution or organization could.

"It takes courage and commitment by talented and resourceful editors and writers to shine a light on their community and offer praise when earned and constructively criticize when necessary.

"Please consider honoring those who work tirelessly each day to do this incredibly difficult but critical job by submitting entries."

Awards are presented in each of two circulation categories – over 50,000 circulation and under 50,000 circulation. In each circulation group, the first-place winner will receive a plaque and a cash award of $1,000. Second-place winners will receive a plaque and $500.

For additional information, contact Cindy Durham at SNPA: or (404) 256-0444.


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