Veteran journalist and Lipscomb University communication and journalism chair Alan Griggs recently received the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Griggs, who was appointed chair of Lipscomb’s Department of Communication and Journalism in 2013, was news director at Nashville’s NBC affiliate for more than a decade and has a career that spans more than 40 years. For his career achievement, Griggs will be honored, along with the college’s three other award recipients, at a brunch on May 8 in Athens, Ga.
“We are especially proud to have Professor Griggs serve as chair of the department of communication and journalism and congratulate him on this great honor,” said Norma B. Burgess, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lipscomb, which houses the department of communication and journalism. “His vast industry experience provides our students with considerable benefits and opportunities. I am also very pleased to have him as a colleague.”
Named after the late John Holliman, a Grady alumnus and former CNN reporter, the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award honors sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career. A 1972 UGA graduate, Griggs said it is a special honor to be recognized in this way by his alma mater.
“Back in 1970, the University of Georgia took a chance on this young man from a small north Georgia town,” said Griggs, a native of Newnan, Ga. “I knew I wanted to be a television news reporter but I was woefully lacking in the fundamentals of my future career. The Grady professors quickly saw that and proceeded to give me the necessary preparation and attention for what has become a truly wonderful and rewarding career in journalism. I will always be in debt to the university, the Grady College and those professors who showed everlasting patience in guiding me toward my chosen profession.”
In addition to his academic appointment at Lipscomb, Griggs is also a producer, writer and reporter for “Tennessee’s Wild Side,” an outdoor adventure show and a seven-time Emmy Award-winning series, broadcast by all Public Broadcasting System stations in Tennessee and Kentucky. He continues his role as a senior consultant with the Institute for Crisis Management in Louisville, Ky. He is also the author of two books: “Flying Flak Alley: Personal Accounts of World War II Bomber Crew Combat” and “The Life and Tales of Pony Maples Jr.”
Griggs began his broadcast news and marketing career as a reporter and anchor at WAPI-TV in Birmingham, Ala., before moving to WSMV-TV in Nashville in 1972, where he served as investigative reporter, news manager and news director. As news director, Griggs led a newsroom of more than 80 people for 10 years, during which time the station won more national news and reporting awards than any other television station in the country. Under his leadership, the news operation consistently ranked number one in the nation’s 30th largest television market. His television career also included an assignment at WBZ-TV in Boston, where he was an investigative reporter and manager of its investigative unit.
In 1994, Griggs served as communication director for the United States Senate campaign for Congressman Jim Cooper. He later became marketing director for Film House Inc., handling strategic positioning and marketing for television stations around the country. He also served as director of media strategy for United Methodist Communications from 1995-2001.
Griggs has received most of broadcast journalism’s top award including three George Foster Peabody Awards (the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), an Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast excellence, a Dupont-Columbia citation, a George Polk Award and 10 Emmy Awards among many others.
In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia, Griggs received a Master of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University. He has served as an adjunct professor at Western Kentucky University and as president of the University of Georgia journalism advisory board.