Knight column wins international award

A May 2009 column by Bill Knight was named one of a “Golden Dozen” recognized by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) at its annual conference in Richmond, Ky.

The opinion piece, “Illinois can handle detainees,” was on moving 240 Guantanamo Bay terror suspects to Illinois. It was published more than five months before the federal government started looking at the Thomson Correctional facility in Northwestern Illinois’ Carroll County as a site to transfer the prisoners.

“We have a history of safely handling enemies sworn to destroy our nation,” he wrote, recalling Fulton County’s Camp Ellis, which during World War II housed almost 5,000 Nazi prisoners of war, and criticizing opponents to President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo.

“Some of these fear-mongering grandstanders made it sound like Obama was relocating the terrorist suspects – none yet convicted of anything; three being prosecuted – like they’d be in some reverse Witness Protection Program, running Casey’s General Stores maybe, or rounding up shopping carts at Kroger’s or opening Well Fargo branch banks.”

A professor at Western Illinois University, where he’s deputy director of the journalism program, Knight writes columns for newspapers in Pekin, Peoria, Monmouth, Galesburg, Kewanee and Macomb, and does weekly commentaries for TriStates Public Radio in Macomb.

His writing also has won awards from the Illinois Associated Press (Best Commentary), the Illinois Press Association (Business Reporting), the International Labor Communications Association (Best Column) and the Suburban Newspapers Association of America (Best Sports Writing).

WIU recently named Knight its 2010 John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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