Inspiration and Insights Highlight the
76th Annual Excellence in Journalism
THE WINNERS OF THIS YEAR’S Excellence in Journalism Awards took their bows virtually once again, in a festive program that debuted on June 16 and is now available at
Our 76th annual celebration was as warm, impressive and informative as ever.
“Sixty Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker delivered a keynote address that was inspiring. He spoke about the importance of a free press, especially in these “unsettling times” and commended the award winners for contributing “to our national conversation.” He urged all journalists to “keep on keeping on,” building on trends in digital and non-profit news gathering. “We’re not dinosaurs,” he said. “We can adapt.” You can watch Bill’s keynote address here.
Whitaker is well positioned to give us wise advice: During his more than four decades at CBS, he has covered stories ranging from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011 to race relations and policing in Cleveland, Chicago and Tulsa. He was named a correspondent for “60 Minutes” in 2014.
In addition to accepting their awards, our Medallion-winners shared how they got their stories and gave us behind-the-scenes views of what went into their prize-winning entries, how their pieces were developed, and what problems had to be solved to bring those stories to fruition.
In addition to the 19 Medallions and 27 Certificates of Merit earned by print, broadcast and digital media in 15 news categories, there were two President’s Choice awards. One went to The New York Times for its investigation of Donald J. Trump’s tax returns, which included the revelations that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency, and the same in his first year in office. The other President’s Choice award went to Newsday for its probe into groundwater pollution on Long Island and who was responsible for it.
A special award was made to the family of the late Jim Dwyer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of The New York Times, who died on Oct. 8, 2020. Jack Deacy, the awards committee chairman, said the award was created primarily to acknowledge Dwyer’s efforts on behalf of The Innocence Project, which through the use of DNA technology seeks the exoneration of people who have been wrongly convicted.
Silurian president Michael Serrill moderated the event and Joe Berger, our First Vice President and editor of Silurian News (which includes a full list of award winners and more, and is available on this website), invited guests to become Silurians Press Club members. An application can be found in the “Join Us!” section.
This was our final event until September 22, when we meet again on Zoom. We hope to see you there.