Fellowship created to honor former publisher

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005

Staff report

The family of Godfrey Wells Stancill, a former editor and publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald, is setting up a fellowship in his memory with the Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Stancill, who ran the newspaper from 1968-81, died in 1995. He won many awards for his News-Herald editorials from the Virginia Press Association. After his retirement, he served as a longtime columnist for the newspaper.

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Stancill served on the board of the state press association in the 1970s and was president of VPA in 1980-81. He was active in the civic life of Suffolk, serving in leadership roles with Rotary International and Main Street United Methodist Church.

The Stancill family is working with IRE, a non-profit educational organization of about 5,000 print and broadcast journalists, to establish a fellowship to be awarded annually to a journalist working for a newspaper with less than 50,000 circulation. The fellowship would cover the costs of sending the journalist to the four-day IRE annual conference for practical training in investigative reporting.

Nancy Stancill, one of five children of Godfrey and Phyllis Stancill, serves on the IRE board of directors. She and other family members established the fellowship to coincide with the organization’s drive to create a $5 million endowment. The family’s goal is to raise at least $30,000 for the Godfrey Wells Stancill Fellowship for Journalists from Small Newspapers.

&uot;Our Dad loved running a newspaper and he strongly believed in the power of journalism to make a community better,&uot; said Nancy Stancill, government editor of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. &uot;We believe this fellowship with IRE will honor his ideals and the great work he did throughout his life.&uot;

Stancill’s widow, Phyllis Stancill Pruden, lives in Suffolk with her husband, Peter Pruden. Other Stancill children participating in the fellowship drive: Melinda Poe, a Virginia Beach teacher; Diane Hall, a school librarian in Chesterfield County near Richmond; Steve Stancill, a teacher at Woodberry Forest School near Charlottesville; and Jane Stancill of Durham, N.C., a reporter with the News and Observer in Raleigh.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the fellowship can send checks to IRE, The Godfrey Wells Stancill Fellowship, In care of Nancy Stancill, 4808 Park Phillips Court, Charlotte, N.C. 28210.

Contributions are tax-deductible.