Outstanding Journalist

Written by: 
Jessica DeLeón

Andrew McLemore ('10) has made his mark on journalism at just 25 years old.

McLemore won the Livingston Award, given to journalists younger than 35 years old for outstanding work. Judges included Ken Auletta of The New Yorker, former ABC News anchor Charles Gibson and Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen. McLemore, who was recognized in the local reporting category for his work at The Williamson County Sun, says he was honored to win the prestigious prize.

"To have it happen this early in my career is more gratifying than words," he says

McLemore covered the story involving Michael Morton, who had been convicted and imprisoned for his wife's murder in 1986. Last year, Morton's lawyers said a DNA test linked another man to the murder.

The events of the case moved quickly. During one grueling week in October 2011, McLemore wrote news stories about the case and a three-part series tracing its history and showing how the prosecutor withheld evidence. Morton was eventually exonerated.

The murder had shocked the Williamson County area, where residents couldn't believe such an act of violence could occur, McLemore says. But readers responded positively to his reporting, even sending Thanksgiving and Christmas cards thanking him for his work.

As a student, McLemore was editor of the North Texas Daily in fall 2009. He says his mentors at UNT —  Tracy Everbach, associate professor of journalism, and Kathie Hinnen, senior lecturer of journalism and Daily advisor — helped shape his career.

"I've always considered myself a writer," McLemore says. "But it wasn't until Kathie and Tracy that I believed I could write something really worth reading. They did what all teachers should do. They revealed to me my potential."

McLemore now works for the Fort Worth Weekly, an alternative newspaper, and says his main goal is to keep reporting.

"In this industry, it seems a little absurd to ask more than that," he says. "I'm really passionate about doing investigative, long-form journalism for as long as possible."