Lavigne awarded 2023 Dan Jenkins Medal for Best Sportswriting

Friday, September 15, 2023 - 11:15am

CoJMC alumna Paula Lavigne was named one of three winners of the seventh annual Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting. Lavigne and Tom Junod won the 2023 Jenkins Medal for Best Sportswriting for their ESPN article "Untold." They'll be honored at the Jenkins Medal award ceremony in Austin on October 13.

"Untold" by Junod and Lavigne is a comprehensive recounting of survivors' experiences from their contacts with Todd Hodne, a prized Penn State football recruit who would be revealed as a serial rapist during his time on campus in the late 1970s.

It's a demanding and painful story and the first meaningful mediated accounting of the survivors experiences in the aftermath of their sexual assaults, albeit decades after they occurred. The story also raises fresh questions about Penn State football culture under storied coach Joe Paterno.

Said The University of Texas at Austin's College for Sports Communication and Media (CSCM) Director Dr. Michael Butterworth:

"'Untold' isn't an easy story to read, and it surely wasn't easy to write. Tom Junod and Paula Lavigne's detailed reporting on Penn State football, sexual assault, and survival is impeccably researched and written with precision and care. It is both an infuriating indictment of our collective failure to protect innocent lives and an account of the varied paths those lives took over multiple decades. Ultimately, Junod and Lavigne challenge readers to consider our investment in sports and recognize that the line between sports serving or exploiting a community can be perilously thin. Quite simply, 'Untold' is a remarkable piece of investigative journalism."

The third winner, William C. Rhoden, won the Lifetime Achievement in Sportswriting for his body of work—that spanned over 50 years—for "Sports of the Times," a column he wrote for The New York Times. Rhoden is currently a columnist and editor-at-large for Andscape (formerly The Undefeated).

Lavigne and Junod's "Untold" was one of 12 articles nominated for the Best Sportswriting award. The awards are presented annually in honor of the legendary Texas sportswriter and best-selling author, who defined the sportswriter's craft for a generation.

Sally Jenkins and Michael MacCambridge co-chair the award juries for the Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting. The jury for the Best Sportswriting award includes members Kevin Blackistone, Kirk Bohls, Bryan Curtis, Melanie Hauser, Peter King, Jackie MacMullen, Kevin Robbins, John A. Walsh and Alexander Wolff. The jury for Lifetime Achievement in Sportswriting is comprised of Chuck Culpepper, Karen Crouse, Vahe Gregorian, Kathleen McElroy, Elizabeth Merrill, Joe Posnanski, Steve Rushin, Wright Thompson, and Seth Wickersham.

CSCM will host the Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting awards dinner on October 13 at The Headliners Club in Austin. The dinner is a celebration of the sportwriting craft and experience. Additionally, two-time world heavyweight champion and renowned pitchman George Foreman will receive the 2023 Jenkins Medal Sports Legend award.

Paula Lavigne Headshot