Bernard and Marvin Kalb to Be Awarded
Lifetime Achievement Honors on Dec. 16

Marvin Kalb and Bernard Kalb

FOR THE FIRST TIME in its 96-year history, the Silurians Press Club will present its annual Lifetime Achievement Award to two recipients at the same time. They are Bernard Kalb, 98, and his brother, Marvin Kalb, 90, and although they worked together at various times in careers that each spanned more than half a century, they carved out their own remarkable records of individual accomplishment.

The Kalbs will be honored at a virtual event conducted via Zoom on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 2 PM, so keep an eye out for emails from Silurian president Michael Serrill with details on how to register.

Both Kalbs are native New Yorkers. They each attended public schools in the city, each is a graduate of City College of New York, and each began his work as a journalist with New York-based news organizations. They worked together at times at CBS News and at NBC News, and they collaborated, on “Kissinger,” a 1974 biography of the former statesman, but for the most part, their careers followed discrete paths.

Bernard Kalb was an acclaimed newspaperman, television broadcaster, author and media critic for decades, but he made headlines of his own in 1986 when he resigned as a State Department spokesman to protest government “disinformation.” In so doing, he became a hero to many for calling attention to the importance of governmental credibility. It happened when Kalb, then spokesman for Secretary of State George P. Schultz, stepped aside because of “the reported disinformation program” conducted by the Reagan administration against Col. Muammar e-Qaddafi of Libya.

“Faith in the word of America is the pulsebeat of our democracy,” Kalb said on the day he resigned. “Anything that hurts America’s credibility hurts America.” 

“In his final official act,” wrote William Safire in The New York Times, “Bernard Kalb rose above State Department spokesman to become the spokesman for all Americans who respect and demand the truth.”

Among friends, he sometimes irreverently referred to himself as “keeper of the nation’s ambiguities.”

For more than 30 years prior to leaving the government, Kalb covered international affairs at The New York Times, CBS News and NBC News. For almost half that time, he was based in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Paris and Saigon. Kalb was also the founding anchor of “Reliable Sources,” CNN’s critique of the media, and, for a decade, a frequent panelist on the program.

He was named a Senior Fellow by the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University, and won a fellowship from the Council of Foreign Relations as well as recognition from the Overseas Press Club for his CBS documentary, “Viet Cong.”

Following his graduation from CCNY, Marvin Kalb studied Russian language and literature at Harvard, where he got his M.A. In 1956, he was working on his Ph.D. in Russian history when he was hired by the U.S. State Department as a translator and interpreter at the American Embassy in Moscow. A year later, he was the last correspondent recruited by Edward R. Murrow to join CBS. Assigned to the Moscow bureau and later to Washington, Kalb became a familiar television presence. In 1980, he moved to NBC News as chief diplomatic correspondent and as host of “Meet the Press.”

In 1987, Kalb left the world of daily journalism to become founding director of the Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. He remained there until 1999. He is a James Clark Welling Fellow at George Washington University and a member of the Atlantic Community and Advisory Board, as well as a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution. He is a senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He hosts “The Kalb Report,” a monthly discussion of media ethics at the National Press Club in Washington and is the Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a contributing news analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News Channel. He is a frequent lecturer and television guest on matters concerning the press and government.

Kalb has written or co-written at least a dozen non-fiction books and two novels. In 2018, he published “Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy.” Other books include  “The Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed,” on how the power to make war has shifted from the Congress to the White House; “Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency From Ford to Obama,” co-written with his daughter, Deborah, a freelance writer and editor; “Kissinger,” with Bernard Kalb; “Roots Involvement: The U.S. in Asia, 1784-1971,” with Elie Abel; “The Nixon Memo: Political Respectability, Russia and the Press”; and “One Scandalous Story: Clinton, Lewinsky, & 13 Days That Tarnished American Journalism.” His novels, both bestsellers, are “In the National Interest,” with Ted Koppel, and “The Last Ambassador,” with Bernard Kalb.

The many honors he has received include two Peabody Awards, the DuPont Prize from Columbia University, the 2006 Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club, and more than half a dozen awards from the Overseas Press Club.


Michael S. Serrill Named President,
Joseph Berger Editor of Silurian News

Michael Serrill

MICHAEL S. SERRILL, A VETERAN journalist and former foreign editor, has been named the 72nd president of the Silurians Press Club, heading a new lineup of officers for the 2020-21 season. Serrill succeeds David A. Andelman, who returns to the Board of Governors following a sterling two-year term as president.

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A Dazzling Display of Journalistic Talent,
But If You Missed It, It’s All on YouTube

If you missed seeing the Silurians’ Excellence in Journalism Awards Gala, held on the evening of June 24, do not despair. And if you were there and can’t wait to see it again, there’s good news for you, too.

It’s available at this very moment on YouTube.

Simply click on: and settle back for a splendid 90-minute presentation of the Silurians’ 75th anniversary gala in which the best of New York City’s journalism was put on dazzling display.

It was virtual, but it was vibrant, and you will see every aspect of the gala evening, including:
• Tom Brokaw’s stirring keynote address on the role of a free press in today’s challenging climate.
• Comments from many of the evening’s winners, who revealed behind-the-scenes details of how their stories were put together.
• Excerpts of some of the prize-winning entries from print and broadcast media.
• The “passing of the gavel” from president David A. Andelman, who concluded a splendid two years in that role, to Michael Serrill, our incoming president.

The evening’s activities were presided over by Andelman and they put an emphatic exclamation point to his two years in office. Jack Deacy was again our Awards chairman, ably assisted by Silurians Aileen Jacobson, Allan Dodds Frank and Scotti Williston as well as our indefatigable intern, Ben Long.

For a complete list of individuals and news organizations that were honored with Medallions or Certificates of Merit, see story below.

2020 Silurians Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards

New York Times, Newsday Take Top Honors
At 75th Anniversary Awards Competition

A THREE-YEAR INVESTIGATION by Newsday that documented widespread housing discrimination on Long Island and an extraordinary photo essay by New York Times photographers that captured the excitement of a summer full of New York City block parties won The President’s Choice Awards — top honors in the 75th Anniversary Excellence In Journalism Awards conducted by the Silurians Press Club. The awards honored outstanding work in print, broadcast and digital media during 2019.

Newsday reporters and trained investigators spent three years uncovering evidence of widespread discriminatory treatment of home-hunting minorities by agents associated with the largest and best known residential brokerage companies on Long Island. Newsday’s 45,000 word, 16-part report found that agents accommodated white potential buyers but denied equal service to minorities, directing white and minority buyers to different neighborhoods and warning white buyers to avoid the schools in predominantly minority communities. The study found that black home buyers received disparate treatment by agents 49 percent of the time. For Hispanics, the rate was 39 percent and for Asians, 19 percent. The series, called “Long Island Divided,” included more than 35 video elements that ranged from undercover segments contrasting how agents treated white and minority home buyers to a 40-minute documentary, “Testing the Divide.” It told the story behind the story and placed the findings in the context of Long Island’s troubled racial history. The Newsday report generated action within days of publication from the highest levels of federal, state and county governments that led to significant reforms.

The New York Times also garnered a President’s Choice Award for its special photo and text essay, “The New York City Block Party.” During the summer of 2019, The Times dispatched 20 of its photographers to attend and record 65 block parties throughout the five boroughs. The result: an extraordinary series of photographs that captured the joy of New Yorkers celebrating their block and their neighbors with a day of food, music, dancing and camaraderie.

Presentation of the awards, originally planned for May 13 at New York’s National Arts Club, were postponed because of the coronavirus spread and are now scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Instead of a traditional dinner, the event will be “virtual,” conducted over Zoom. Tom Brokaw of NBC News will deliver the keynote address.

“This year’s Excellence in Journalism Awards come at a most challenging moment for our profession,” said David A. Andelman, president of The Silurians Press Club. ”In our first Zoom awards gala, it is our privilege to recognize an extraordinary collection of the best and brightest, paying tribute to all those who each day give so much of their talent and energy to keep us informed and in touch with our world.”

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