Olive Garden reviewer Marilyn Hagerty to receive Neuharth Award

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’

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  • http://www.DumpThePicayune.com/ TPWatcher

    Thanks very much for the perspective. As a pre-geezer myself, I appreciate it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=819314558 George Anders

    I’m a big fan of Marilyn Hagerty — and defining her only by the Olive Grove review at the end of her career would be very much like thinking about Gloria Stuart only as the frail old lady who took on a supporting role (at age 87) in “Titanic.”

    Ms. Hagerty — like lots of very capable small-town journalists — covered the stories of her times for many decades without getting any national recognition. She’s not a dabbler; she’s not a zealot; she’s just a lifelong capable journalist. I think that’s what the University of South Dakota folks wanted to salute.

    The Olive Grove review, if you ever read it, is actually a very cunning take-down, written with a self-aware small-town tone. Maybe that’s why it took on such freakish popularity. Anyway, the award isn’t about that one story. It’s a reminder to the rest of us that writers outside the big metro areas deserve a fresh look, too.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get it. I’m not trying to be mean, and congratulations to Ms. Hagerty and all, but WHAT???? What am I missing?

  • Anonymous

    come on, al. can’t you give your old friend some monetary compensation for such a prestigious award? say, a black-and-white designer dress and a first class airplane ticket somewhere (and back).

  • http://www.DumpThePicayune.com/ TPWatcher

    This is a joke, right? RIGHT???