Executive Director Dan Shelley recognized by Missouri State University with "Outstanding Alumnus Award"

On June 23, 2018, RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley was this year’s sole recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Missouri State

Shelley, right, with Missouri State University President Clif Smart
Photo: Missouri State University Alumni Association
University in Springfield, Mo. The MSU Alumni Association grants the award annually to “recipients who have typified the Missouri State University tradition of excellence for extraordinary professional distinction and/or exemplary volunteer service to society. They bring credit to the university by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.”
Below are excerpts of his acceptance remarks.
Thank you, my old friend Brent [Dunn, Missouri State University vice president of university advancement].
Thank you to the board of governors who are represented here tonight, President [Clif] Smart, to [alumni association] Chairwoman [Tina] Stillwell; to Dean Shawn Wahl [of the College of Arts and Letters], who nominated me for this distinguished honor; my fellow honorees – congratulations; and other distinguished guests.
Thank you to the alumni association for this incredible honor. I feel blessed tonight.
I am blessed that the education I received at Missouri State University allowed me to make modest contributions as a journalist, here in Springfield, to the other communities where I have lived, and – now – as executive director of RTDNA.
It’s great to be home.
True story: I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant today and the fortune in my fortune cookie read as follows: “Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow.”
They certain did, thanks, in large part, to Missouri State.
I must say, though, that the Springfield I came home to this weekend is not the Springfield I left in 1995. In some ways that is extremely good. In other ways, not so much.
With the exceptions of KSMU, KOZK, KTTS and the Nexstar- and Gray-owned television stations here – and the occasional outstanding reporting in the [Springfield] News-Leader – the journalism climate here in Springfield is much different than when I left in 1995.
There’s not nearly the level of newsroom staffing. Not nearly the number of hard-hitting investigative reports. Not nearly as many flagrant acts of responsible journalism. Local government entities employ more public information officers whom they use – often for very good reasons, but sometimes not – to control what you get to know.
Too often, if I want to know what’s going on in my hometown, I have to stay up late on a weekend night and watch the Greene County Sheriff’s Department on [A&E network’s] “Live PD.”
I know there is much more to the Ozarks than the seedy underbelly depicted on that show.
So I urge everyone in this room to support local quality journalism. Tell the media outlets in this community that you want more and better journalism, and then help them – through your underwriting and advertising dollars and in other ways – to fulfill their constitutionally-guaranteed responsibility to serve as catalysts for positive change by seeking and reporting the truth.
My gratitude – again – to the alumni association for this honor, of which I am more proud and humbled than I could ever adequately express.
Thank you. Good night.