CINCINNATI, Sept. 11, 2007— Bill and Mary Beth Price, chairman/CEO and founder, respectively, of Empower MediaMarketing in Cincinnati, will receive the Missouri School of Journalism’s highest honor – the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism – at an Oct. 9 ceremony at the University of Missouri.
The Prices will be among 10 people presented with the award, which was instituted in 1930.
Medalists are selected by the faculty of the Missouri School of Journalism.
Mary Beth Price founded Empower MediaMarketing, then known as Media That Works, in 1985, following a long and successful career at Procter & Gamble. She continues to serve on the company’s board. Bill Price, a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and Mary Beth’s spouse, joined the media agency shortly after its formation and remains its chairman and chief executive officer.
Empower MediaMarketing was one of the first independent media planning and buying companies that prompted many full service agencies to establish media departments as separate profit centers. While most media expenditures are controlled by the large communication holding companies, Empower has retained its “independent,” privately held position electing to provide the most sophisticated media services for mid-major marketers.
In 2006, the Prices began funding a visiting professor faculty position staffed by an Empower executive who shuttles between the agency and school to bring real-world marketplace experiences to the students. The executive also serves as media director for Mojo Ad, the journalism school’s student-staffed, faculty-led agency.
In 2005, Empower was selected as the fourth best small company to work for in America by the Society of Human Resource Management and Great Place to Work Institute.
Other recipients of this year’s Missouri Honor Medal will be Dean Baquet, The New York Times Washington bureau chief; Dirck Halstead, editor and publisher of The Digital Journalist; Fran Lewine, long-time journalist; Oh Yeon Ho, founder of OhmyNews, a South Korean online citizen journalism newspaper; Paula Madison, executive vice president of diversity for NBC Universal; Russ Mitchell, news anchor, CBS; Ruth Reichl, editor in chief, Gourmet magazine; and Wayne Brassler, journalism teacher, University of Chicago High School.
Past winners include Leo Burnett, Ted Koppel, Walter Cronkite, Gloria Steinem, Charles Kuralt, Harry Reasoner, Allen Neuharth, Christiane Amanpour, Bernard Shaw and Daniel Schorr.
“When I started the company 22 years ago, media was usually not the top priority in the marketing mix. Now, it is becoming the lead component. It was always our goal to be one of the country’s best media independents,” Mary Beth Price said. “We can’t begin to tell you how proud we are of everyone who helped build Empower into the highly respected and successful agency it is today. We would not be receiving this honor if not for them.”
Bill Price added, “This honor has very special meaning to me as a Mizzou grad who comes from a family with a long history in journalism. My grandfather, W.C. Price, founded The Princeton (Mo.) Post in 1901. My father, James W. Price, a 1922 graduate of the school, and mother, Dorothy C. Price, took over the paper in 1929 and published it until 1960. I worked on The Post and also in radio and television prior to my media and account management assignments at the Leo Burnett Agency and Taft Broadcasting Company.”
And there are other Price children in the journalism field. Annie Price owns her own production company in Hollywood where she produces segments for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Jim Price leads Empower’s new media and digital business. Mary Jesse Price is a student at the University of Missouri majoring in journalism. A fourth child, Molly Price, is a Marine Corps officer currently serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq.