Last week the National Headliners Club announced its 22nd annual awards. Among them, from more than 1,500 entries in various journalistic fields, went a first-place silver medallion to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the series on Boxing's Dirty Business, called a "comprehensive exposé of boxing on a national level" and cited as the "Best News Series in a Magazine."
Founded in 1935 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliners in 1956 gave 23 awards for journalistic achievement. Others honored besides SI included Michael O'Neill of U.P. for his articles on the Salk polio vaccine, Andrew Tully of the Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance for his series "Inside Russia," Eric Sevareid of CBS for news broadcasting as exemplified in The World Tonight.
The Headliners Award is an encouraging reminder that the atmosphere of boxing has lately shown many signs of dispelling its noxious fumes—although, as a world championship fight demonstrated in Chicago last week, the air is still less than mountain-fresh (see page 30).
Credit for the change is far from being SI's alone. Only last week SI was happy to confer its PAT ON THE BACK to Dan Parker of the N.Y. Daily Mirror, who received the N.Y. Newspaper Guild's Page One Award for crusading journalism with his series of columns "They're Murdering Boxing."
The courageous outlawing of the New York Boxing Guild by State Boxing Commissioner Julius Helfand was the most dramatic single fact in boxing's improving conditions. Commenting recently on SI, Commissioner Helfand said, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has set a high standard with its all-round coverage of boxing. It has also been a welcome force in contributing to public understanding of what this office is trying to do to rid boxing of its undesirable elements."