Risen to receive Lovejoy award

The College’s Lovejoy selection committee has chosen New York Times investigative reporter James Risen as the recipient of the 2014 Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. Risen is currently facing jail time for refusing to reveal sources on a failed CIA operation. He will receive the award and an honorary Colby doctorate at a formal convocation Sunday, Oct. 5 following the annual journalism conference sponsored by the Goldfarb Center.
Past winners of the Lovejoy Award include Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, David Halberstam, Anne Hull of the Washington Post, and John Burns of the New York Times. In 2013, investigative reporter A.C. Thompson of ProPublica received the award for his work leading to federal charges against seven New Orleans police officers for shootings of civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Recognized as one of the most prominent reporters of the 21st century, Risen received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting with his reporting partner Eric Lichtblau for their stories on domestic eavesdropping, as well as the 2002 Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting for his team’s post-9/11 coverage. He is also the author of four books, one of which is the impetus of a six-year-long judicial battle that could land Risen in jail as soon as this fall.
Currently, Risen is under threat of incarceration by the U.S. Department of Justice for refusing to reveal a confidential source used in his 2006 book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The federal government wants Risen to testify against former CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, accused of leaking information about the failed operation against Iran’s nuclear program described in one chapter of the book.
Risen’s subpoena originally expired in 2009, but the Obama administration renewed it and continues the effort to compel Risen to testify. The case most recently made the news in June when the Supreme Court refused Risen’s request for intervention.
Meanwhile, he remains steadfast in the name of journalism, and boldly described Obama as “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation,” to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd last month. Risen has vowed that he is prepared to go to jail—and has already chosen which books he will take with him.
Risen was selected as the recipient of this year’s Lovejoy Award not only for his contributions to national security reporting, but also for his “courage in his commitment to protect his sources and combat pressures that would undermine his work and that of other journalists,” said Ann Marie Lipinski, chair of the Lovejoy selection committee and curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
The College has bestowed the Lovejoy Award to a noteworthy journalist each year since 1952 in memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Colby’s valedictorian in 1826 and an abolitionist newspaper publisher. Lovejoy was killed in 1837 for denouncing slavery and defending his right to publish, earning him John Quincy Adams’ recognition as America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.
Risen will receive the Lovejoy award and deliver a speech to the Colby community at Lovejoy Convocation on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 5:00 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel. The event is open to the public.