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Stephen Philbin Awards

Download the 2018 Legal Resource Guide for News Reporters

Dallas Bar Association Stephen Philbin AwardsRecognizing Excellence in Legal Reporting Since 1983

Winners - Click this link to view past winners of the Stephen Philbin Awards.


The Stephen Philbin Awards were created in 1983 to honor the memory of Stephen H. Philbin, a long-time member of the Dallas Bar Association and a partner with the firm of Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely. Mr. Philbin died in 1982 from leukemia at the age of 39.

At the time of his death, Mr. Philbin was a leading authority on media law in Texas. He advised major publications and broadcast companies on libel law, regulations and licensing of broadcast properties, and fair comment rulings. Mr. Philbin was a graduate of Harvard Law School, and he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Yale University.

In honor of Mr. Philbin's contributions to media law in Dallas, the Philbin and Brock Families have funded the Philbin Awards, and the Dallas Bar Association has presented the awards annually since 1983.


A $1,000 cash prize will be awarded to the winner of each professional category, and a $500 cash award for the student category. A $1,750 cash prize will be awarded to a grand-prize winner chosen from the entries in all categories. Award winners will also receive plaques recognizing their accomplishment.

Winners are announced at the Philbin Awards Luncheon, at the Belo Mansion (2101 Ross Avenue in Dallas). To inquire about the luncheon, contact Jessica Smith. To purchase tickets, contact Judi Smalling.


Judging Criteria

Entries for the Philbin Awards must cover some aspect of the legal system or its participants and should contribute to the public's understanding of the legal system. A panel of judges evaluates submissions for informational value, educational value, creativity, thoroughness, accuracy, clarity, interest, contribution to public debate, and the journalist's resourcefulness, courage, and initiative in pursuing the story. The judges reserve the right to transfer an entry to the appropriate category if the entry is more suitable to the criteria of another category. The judges reserve the right to not select a winner in a category if entries in said category do not meet the stated criteria. 

We welcome the submission of entries by non-English language media. To facilitate judging, such entries must be translated into English.


General Rules/Award Categories (click the link for more information).


Some past recipients of the Stephen Philbin Awards include:

  • Rebecca Aguilar, Brent Stanley and Cody Marcom (KDFW Fox 4)
  • Ginger Allen, Todd Bensman, Josh Brown, Troy Larkins, Daniel Penz (CBS 11 KTVT-TV)
  • Jim Atkinson, Michael Hall, Alicia Mundy (Texas Monthly)
  • Max B. Baker (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  • Brenda Bernet and Dave Sorter (Plano Star-Courier)
  • John Browning and Jeff Parish (Rockwall County Herald-Banner)
  • Brendan Case, Reese Dunklin, Brooks Egerton (The Dallas Morning New)
  • Mark Donald and John Council (Texas Lawyer)
  • Jennifer Emily (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Donna Fielder (Denton Record-Chronicle)
  • Michael Grabell (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Jay Gray, Mike Heimbach and Raul Rangel (KXAS)
  • Linda Hwang and Eric Alkire (KDFW Fox 4)
  • Rick Hadley (WBAP Radio)
  • Lee Hancock, Kim Horner, Maud Beelman and Kye Lee (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Byron Harris (WFAA Channel 8)
  • Diane Jennings, Darlean Spangenberger (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Thomas Korosec, Christine Biedeman (Dallas Observer)
  • Julie Lyons (Dallas Observer)
  • Dan Malone, Howard Swindle and Mark Curriden (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Laura Miller
  • Glenn Mitchell, Susan Schewe, Jeff Whittington, Kris Boyd, Maggie Conklin and Brandolon Barnett (KERA 90.1 Radio)
  • Joylyn Niebes, Laura Oertling, Shelley Hawes Pate, Lisa Poisso (Dallas Child)
  • Becky Oliver, Joe Ellis, Donna Ressl, Phil Fleming and Michael Tew (KDFW Fox 4)
  • Richard Ray (KDFW-TV)
  • Robert Riggs, Alan Berg, and Meridith Schucker (WFAA-TV)
  • Jason Roberson and Eric Torbenson (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Brett Shipp, Mark Smith and Kraig Kirchem (WFAA-TV)
  • K. Shelby Skrhak (The Colony Courier-Leader)
  • Loren Steffy (Bloomberg News)
  • Doug Swanson, Steve McGonigle, Holly Becka, Gregg Jones, Jennifer LaFleur, Emily Ramshaw and Ed Timms (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Kathy Swindle (The Hood County News)
  • Allen Taylor (Today Newspapers)
  • Jason Trahan (The Arlington/Dallas Morning News)
  • Glenna Whitley (D Magazine)
  • Lisa Whitley (Dallas Business Journal)
  • Tim Wyatt and Ed Housewright (The Dallas Morning News) 
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