Filak wins ACP Pioneer Award

[The Advance-Titan] Filak wins ACP Pioneer Award

Katie Puvermacher / The Advance-Titan — Filak poses next to family in celebration of his award.

“Holy shit” was UW Oshkosh journalism professor Vincent Filak’s reaction to finding out he was chosen as one of the first 101 people in the inaugural class for the Associated Collegiate Press’s (ACP) Pioneer Awards.

“I guess it means I did something right,” Filak said. “Whatever it took, whatever pile of work I got back to, it was worth it 100 times.”

A nationwide, six-member committee of retired and active advisers reviewed and selected the winners in honor of ACP’s 100th birthday. 

“The fact they said yes [to choosing me] is hard to put in terms without using a cliche, but it was really one of those moments I was like ‘Woah, that’s a lot,’” Filak said.

Filak attended MediaFest22 in Washington D.C. with his wife Amy and daughter Zoe to  accept his award on Oct. 28. He said it was like a family reunion seeing the people he used to see at conventions every year.

“This is what I did and this is who I was for most of my life,” Filak said. “I really did enjoy the fact that I got to meet with some people I hadn’t seen in a while. It’s like putting on your favorite pair of shoes – they just slide right back on and you’re right there.”

Chair of the journalism department Tim Gleason said Filak is very passionate about supporting student journalists and their First Amendment rights. 

“He is an impressive advocate for student media and it is an award that is well deserved,” Gleason said.

Fourth-year student Cory Sparks said Filak has always gone out of his way to be a resource to anyone and everyone.

“I know Filak is humble and probably thinks there are hundreds of others who deserve the award over himself, but he should know that he earned this,” Sparks said. “[His passion] is recognized by students and it’s deservingly recognized on a national scale too.”

Sparks went as far to say Filak will give you the “Harvard Law equivalent of journalism instruction.” 

Filak said it’s important to fight for students when no one else will. 

“Planting these educational seeds, you realize a lot of [students] grew really well,” Filak said. “It sets a mark for me where I want to spend the next stage of my career. I want to be the person in terms of working with college media doing things they already say I do well.”

With the journalism department down a few staff members, Filak said he didn’t think he’d be able to attend because he had to wrap up accreditation and student advising.

“I’d rather be in a room by myself critiquing stuff and helping people out rather than be up on a stage and have people say nice things about me, but I’m glad I went and my family was there to share it with me,” Filak said. “This is an incredible life.”