Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is being honored with an award in journalism from his alma mater, the University of Mississippi (UM), according to The Washington Times.
Debora Wenger, an assistant dean and journalism professor at Ole Miss, said in a statement that Shep “embodies what a journalist should be — for decades, he has reported the news without fear or favor.”
She went on: “Because he got his start in journalism here at the University of Mississippi, we feel extraordinarily proud of all he has accomplished.”
“How much he matters”
Wenger added in her statement that she hopes Smith will accept the award, called the Silver Em, as a commemoration of “how much he matters” to Ole Miss. “With this award, we hope to let him know how much he matters to our school and to a profession that many of us consider the foundation of our democracy,” she said.
Will Norton, Jr., dean of UM’s School of Journalism and New Media, also lauded the former Fox anchor in a press release from the university.
“When Shep Smith was in school, he always seemed to be in a hurry, carrying a big camera with lots of equipment, trying to get to his next appointment,” Norton recalled. He went on to laud Smith as “someone devoted to the facts.”
“That same enthusiasm was so evident every day in those early years when he was on campus,” Norton said.
A journalist’s responsibility
Smith last returned to his alma mater in October 2019 to speak with aspiring journalists. “You have a responsibility to people who rely on you to find out what in the world is going on,” he told the students, according to the Times.
“Even if it’s just [a] car wreck,” he continued, “or the city council meeting, or the game you are writing about, you have [the] responsibility to do as well as you can and tell the story as effectively as possible.”
Smith announced his retirement from Fox News last fall after more than two decades there, according to The Washington Post. Unlike many other high profile figures at the network, Smith was critical of President Donald Trump, and the feelings were more than mutual.
After hearing news of his departure, the president said that Smith had “terrible ratings,” according to The Hill. And Trump didn’t hold the criticisms back during Smith’s tenure at Fox, either.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2019