Denver Press Club's Damon Runyon Award

2014 Damon Runyon Honoree: Katie Couric


The Denver Press Club Board of Directors has named famed journalist Katie Couric as the recipient of the 20th Annual Damon Runyon Award.

Couric will accept the award at a banquet in her honor on Friday, March 7, 2014 at the Denver Marriott City Center. It starts at 7 p.m.

Katie Couric made history as the first solo female anchor at one of the three major broadcast networks, with the "CBS Evening News." She is well-known for anchoring "CBS Evening News" from 2006-2011, hosting NBC's "Today" show, and reporting for "60 Minutes" and "Dateline NBC."

Since 2012, she has hosted "Katie," a syndicated daytime talk show on ABC. In addition, she serves as a special correspondent for ABC News and is the author of several books, including "The Best Advice I Ever Got." (2011)

Tickets cost $115 each and can be purchased online at or Tickets cost $90 each for members of the Denver Press Club, Denver Woman's Press Club, Colorado Press Women, the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Association of Black Journalists and the Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

This event is open to everyone. In addition, DPC offers a $25 ticket to attend the VIP reception at the club from 5-6 p.m.

Previous recipients of the award include Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, Molly Ivins, Herb Caen, Pete Hamill, Ted Turner, Maureen Dowd, Tom Brokaw, David Halberstam, Ed Bradley, Carl Hiaasen, Seymour Hersh, George Will, Bob Costas, Tim Russert, Rick Reilly, P.J. O’Rourke, Anna Quindlan, Mike Lupica and Frank Deford.

For more information, contact Bruce Goldberg at 303-369-4088.

For contributions in the field of journalism

If necessity is the mother of invention, then the Damon Runyon Award is the son of invention.

In the summer of 1992, the Press Club was almost broke. The board had discussed several dire options, including closing or merging into another club.

We decided not to do that. Instead, we reached back into the club’s past for a solution to its future.

Most of us knew about Alfred Damon Runyon’s early history with the Press Club.

As a young reporter for The Denver Post and then the Rocky Mountain News, Runyon was known to frequent the club, drinking his North Platte beer.

There is a classic photograph of Runyon and Jimmy Wong, the club’s first manager, sitting side by side, a thin trail of cigarette smoke rising from their fingers.

Abby Ellis and I were delegated to work on the project. There wasn’t much of a selection process. She and I settled on Jimmy Breslin, who had just written a wonderful biography of Runyon.

I contacted my friend, Steve Lipsher, at The Denver Post, who in turn recruited his boss, Gil Spencer, to write a letter to Breslin, who had worked for Spencer at The New York Daily News.

Miraculously, Breslin said yes to coming to Denver to accept the award. We worked furiously on staging the first banquet at The Brown Place.

Our work paid off. About 290 people attended that first banquet. I can still remember the late Alan Dumas telling me – with genuine surprise – “This is such an unexpected success.”

Each year, The Denver Press Club is proud to honor a member of the journalism profession with our Damon Runyon Award. This award honors a person or persons who have made extraordinary contributions to the field. The honorees are selected with a special eye towards those whose careers have embraced the highest journalistic standards and who embody the colorful, often irreverent and sometimes flamboyant traits so much associated with Runyon and his characters.

Recipients of The Damon Runyon Award are honored at a ceremony in Denver, the proceeds of which provide a major funding source for our scholarship program and the maintenance of our historic facility.

The evening begins with a VIP reception for the honoree, attended by club members and major sponsors of the event. Following the reception, the award is presented during a banquet in the recipient's honor. Throughout the evening a Silent Auction is held during which members, sponsors and their guests engage in spirited bidding for items ranging from memorabilia and souvenirs to merchandise and entertainment packages donated by former honorees, club members, sponsors and businesses.

Award winners are invited (coerced?) to take the podium and offer comments on the events which led them to be so recognized as well as to give their views on the current state of journalism. Needless to say, their remarks are incisive, informative, often pithy and always entertaining. Since the inaugural event in 1994, the evening has never failed to be memorable. You're invited to follow the links to more information about the winners and some of their comments.

The links are located in the list of recipients on the right.

By John C. Ensslin

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