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News Ellen Cannon honored with Alumni Achievement Award

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After a career launching start-ups, Cannon is giving back to future journalists
Ellen Cannon and Dean George Watson

​Ellen Cannon, a longtime supporter of the UD Journalism Program, is welcomed to the lectern at the ceremony where she received her Alumni Achievement Award.. UD photo/Andre Smith.

​She helped launch Entertainment Weekly and Australia's version of People magazine.

Then Bloomberg hired her away to launch three magazines, a line of financial books, and the Bloomberg website. Her online work continued with Bankratecom, QuinStreet Inc. and Nerdwallet.com.

Along the way, Ellen Cannon gave back in volunteer time and financial support to the University of Delaware,  where she graduated in 1976 with a degree in English and the equivalent of a student career at The Review, UD's independent student newspaper. 

In recognition of her many contributions to student excellence, UD honored Cannon on May 16 with the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Award.

'The role the press plays in our democracy is more important than ever'
Ellen Cannon accepts award

​Ellen Cannon accepts her award, saying that she wanted "aspiring journalists to benefit from the career I have had." UD photo/Andre Smith.

In her acceptance remarks, Cannon said that for as long as she could remember, "I wanted to be a journalist." She continued:

"My parents read the local newspaper daily and discussed current events with us. Today, at age 95, my mom still reads several newspapers every day - on her iPad.

"I began reading magazines like Time, Life and Sports Illustrated at a young age. My dad, Joe, who passed away in October, was a professional golfer. When I was young, he also wrote golf instruction articles for Sports Illustrated. He was my inspiration in so many ways.

"I majored in English with a concentration in journalism when the University of Delaware’s journalism program was in its infancy. The journalism courses I took with Ed Nickerson and my work on The Review prepared me for editorial roles at Time Inc., Bloomberg and a number of personal finance websites. And my liberal arts education was also key to my success.

"I’ve been very fortunate to have made my living as a journalist. I’ve had amazing experiences and worked with incredible people.

"I believe the role the press plays in our democracy is more important than ever today. And I’m pleased that the University of Delaware journalism program, under the direction of Deborah Gump, is preparing great journalists for the future.

"About a dozen years ago, while living in Florida, I got involved with the South Florida alumni group and later with the university at large. I wanted to do something to thank the University of Delaware for my education, and I wanted aspiring journalists to benefit from the career I have had.

"When I learned from Professors Ben Yagoda and Dawn Fallik that the most pressing need was student internships, I established the Ellen Cannon Journalism Internship Fund. I’ve been lucky to meet the students who have used the internship, and I’m enjoying following their careers. I hope they’ll make UD proud and be Blue Hens Forever!"

Cannon comes from a family of Blue Hens. She was joined at the ceremony by her mother, Beverly; her sister Donna and her husband Gene Julian, class of ‘66; her sister Linda and her husband Jim Graham, Double Dels, class of ‘73; and her brother Bob, class of ‘77, and his partner Cecelia Everet.

Cannon as magazine cover celebrity
Ellen Cannon with Dean George Watson

​Ellen Cannon and Dean George Watson. share a laugh. UD Photo/Andre Smith.

In his remarks, George Watson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, quoted Dr. Deborah Gump, director of the Journalism Program and who nominated Cannon for the award, as saying that the journalism family is indebted to her for her advice and support:

"In particular, Deborah said, 'Ellen strongly believes in experiential learning and has put this commitment into action within the college and beyond. She established the Ellen Cannon Internship in Journalism so that students could receive real-world newsroom experience prior to graduation … and is one of our best champions of a multidisciplinary approach to education.'”

Watson concluded his remarks by saying that Gump had asked Cannon whether she had any photos of herself during her career. Cannon did.

Ellen Cannon's EW cover

Cannon joined Time Inc. in 1989 as a senior editor for its Entertainment Weekly magazine, working with staffers from all departments to make sure the magazine met its 6 a.m. Wednesday press start. That made her a natural choice to join the start-up team for Who Weekly, the Australian version of People magazine, then also owned by Time.

Cannon spent 16 months in Sydney, not only hiring and training editors and writers but also developing a network of freelancers across Australia.

When she returned, she spent another year at Entertainment Weekly before leaving for Bloomberg L.P. Creating going-away covers is a Time tradition, Cannon said. Her cover reads:

She's outrageous. She's adorable.
And she's angry that the Northeast has no outback.
As she breaks into your database, get set to be CANNONIZED!

Cannon is quick to explain the database break-in reference: "The reference to breaking into your database is because I managed the database for fact-checked facts, which everyone was able to access, but few could make entries!"

Cannon's volunteer and student contributions
Madeline Buiano

​Madeline Buiano

​In addition to her work with the college's advisory council, Cannon works with the South Florida Alumni Association, the Volunteer Admissions Support Team (VAST), the Career Advising Network and the Alumni Association board of directors.

But journalism students know her as donor who launched the Cannon internship, which supports students who cover business news for The (Wilmington) News Journal. Internships are awarded each fall and spring semester.

Madeline Buiano, who is also next year's Soles fellow at the Center for Public Integrity, is one of the many News Journal interns indebted to Cannon's generosity and foresight.

"I'd have to say that overall my experience with The News Journal was a way to do what I love while also growing to understand the Delaware community more," Buiano said. "I've lived in Delaware my whole life, but through my internship I gained an understanding of the area's hardships, triumphs and things that the community members hold close to their hearts."

Story published on 5/20/2018 ; last modified on
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Journalism alumna Ellen Cannon is given the  Alumni Achievement Award by the College of Arts and Sciences, with Dean George Watson doing the honors.

5/20/2018
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Ellen Cannon honored with Alumni Achievement Award
 
  • The Journalism Program
  • 207 Memorial Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 302-831-3870
  • journalism@udel.edu