Campus News Society & Culture

WRDW-TV news anchor receives UGA Distinguished Alumni Award

Athens, Ga. – News anchor Lynnsey Gardner of Augusta was presented the John E. Drewry Award for Young Alumni Achievement from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication on Thursday, May 6.

Gardner, 25, anchors News 12 This Morning weekdays on Augusta’s WRDW-TV. The 2006 summa cum laude graduate of Grady College majored in broadcast news and minored in political science. She joinedthe News 12 teamin June of 2006 as a multimedia journalist. She was promoted to weekend anchor/senior reporter before making the switch to the morning desk.

Gardner was named “Best Anchor/Reporter” by the Georgia Associated Press in 2008. Her investigative journalism was recognized with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting for her exclusive series on Dent’s Undertaking Establishment, a local funeral home accused of mishandling money, abusing a body and misplacing ashes. Thanks to her ongoing investigation, illegal practices were exposed and the funeral home has since been shut down, while facing bankruptcy. The same investigation also was given top honors by the Georgia Associated Press and the Georgia Association of Broadcastersin 2008 for “Best Investigative Reporting.”

Her exclusive series on a pirate radio station illegally operating in Augusta won an honorable mention by the Georgia Associated Pressfor “Best Series Reporting.” During her time at News 12, Gardner also exclusively reported on the largest marijuana bust in Georgia history, and she had an exclusive interview with Tomi Rae Brown and James Brown II at the Godfather of Soul’s statue in downtown Augusta, just hours after the singer’s death on Christmas Day 2006.

In February 2009, Gardner was interviewed for a BBC documentary as a reporter who helped break the now international story of Betty Neumar, a woman arrested in Augusta and later accused of being a “black widow” across the United States.

Born in Dallas, Gardner was raised in Birmingham, Ala. and Grayson, Ga. While a UGA student, she worked as a reporter, photojournalist, anchor and producer for NewSource 15, the student-produced local newscast broadcast from the Grady College. Gardner was also a member of the DiGamma Kappa broadcasting society andthe Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Gardner was one of four distinguished Grady College alumni recognized at the 2010 Alumni Awards Dinner at UGA’s Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Also honored were newspaper publisher W.H. “Dink” NeSmith Jr., Athens, who received the John Holliman Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement; University of South Carolina professor Carol Pardun, Columbia, S.C., who received the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award; and New York Times reporter Justin Gillis, New York City, who was the recipient of the Henry W. Grady Award for Mid-Career Achievement. The four received additional recognition at Grady’s Spring Convocation held on Friday, May 7, at the Athens Classic Center.

“These exceptional individuals demonstrate how Grady alumni carry the banner of achievement in journalism and mass communication forward into their professions,” said E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the Grady College. “They and the alumni they represent are extremely valuable resources to the college. Their character, careers and service to the field teach and inspire.”

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow Grady on Twitter at