Grand Forks Herald | Sioux City Journal
Marilyn Hagerty wrote a review of a North Dakota Olive Garden that charmed the world. Later today, she'll be introduced as the winner of the 2012 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media at a press conference on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. The press release notes that Hagerty "was Al Neuharth’s first editor 65 years ago." Spokesperson Jonathan Thompson says Hagerty was Neuharth's editor at The Volante, the USD campus paper. Neuharth went on to found USA Today.

"Last year it went to Katie Couric. Other winners have been Walter Cronkite and Garrison Keillor," Hagerty wrote in a column about the award.

Now it’s me. All because I went viral in March after writing a review of the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks. Some critics thought it was pathetic. Others thought it was well done. And they made a million hits while I sat here in Grand Forks wondering what was going on.

Hagerty told Ally Karsyn of the Sioux City Journal that Neuharth called her to tell her about the honor. "To have him call and tell me that they’d like to give me that award was the frosting on the cake," she said. "This really is the top."

Related: Olive Garden critic reviews New York’s ‘dirty-water hot dog’