Lovejoy award honors journalists who sacrificed their lives in 2018

Each year, the College awards the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award to a journalist for making courageous contributions to journalism. This year, however, the College decided to give the award to journalists around the world who were killed in 2018.

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs held several events last week in conjunction with the award ceremony, including the screening of Frontline’s film “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia” and two panelist discussions. 

During the Lovejoy Award ceremony, President David Greene introduced the group of panelists and also spoke to the important changes the selection committee had made this year.

“This year is different from anything that we’ve ever done in the 67 years of giving out this award,” Greene said. “As they considered nominees, the Lovejoy selection committee, which is a group of truly distinguished journalists from around the country, were struck by the unprecedented number of reporters and journalists who were killed in 2018[…]We see journalists under attack all around the world, and we certainly see it here in this country. So I’m really grateful for the selection committee in making this important issue something that we consider today.”

Greene also emphasized the importance of honoring the legacy of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, for whom the award is named.

“We owe a profound debt to Lovejoy for moving our country toward the abolition of human bondage,” Greene said. “And we owe gratitude to those who follow in his footsteps, including those we honor today who lost their lives because they insisted on exposing the injustices around them.”

The panel consisted of Hala Al-Dosari, the Washington Post’s inaugural Jamal Khashoggi Fellow, and Martin Smith, a filmmaker and journalist who works with PBS Frontline. The panel was moderated by Quil Lawrence, a National Public Radio correspondent. Lawrence began by discussing the list of journalists displayed on the screen above him.

“Some of these people were killed in car bombs,” Lawrence said. “They were casualties, but not targeted. But over half were targeted for murder, some of them by state actors. And that’s why we’re focusing among all those on the list on Jamal Khashoggi.”

Al-Dosari, who had known and worked with Khashoggi, spoke about his position as a journalist and the events which ultimately led to his assassination.

“[Khashoggi] was very much a product of the Saudi system,” Al-Dosari said. “Someone who has been sponsored and embraced by Saudi Arabia for decades. He was an independent chief of several newspapers in Saudi Arabia. He always leaned towards doing his individual journalism, but within the confines of the regime for so many years. He worked also as a consultant and spokesperson for embassies, and throughout his career he created a civil network of correspondents. But he had this gentle personality. I think what happened in Saudi Arabia with the rise of the Crown Prince since 2015, it pushed him out. These media circles in Saudi Arabia became more aggressive and ultra-nationalist.”

The panelists also showed clips from “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia” and further discussed the contributions of Khashoggi and sacrifices made by other martyr journalists. 

Apart from the ceremony, the Goldfarb Center also hosted a panelist discussion and lunch with David Shribman, vice president and former executive director of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Rick Hutzell, editor of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

The conversation was moderated by Martin Kaiser, editor and former senior vice president of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Both Shribman and Hutzell discussed the tragedies that happened in their communities and the effect it has on their own press. 

On Oct. 27, 2018 the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania changed Shribman’s life and the work he does. When describing the impact the tragedy has had on his well being Shribman said, “I’m far more sensitive to gun violence. I’m more sober about the world. I’m sadder about things. I’m also partially retired as a result.”

He also discussed how even in these dark moments, he found hope through the work he was doing for his community.

“It’s been tough. I drive by that synagogue every day. I save myself through service. We’re there to serve the community,” Shribman said. “The connection to the community is so much more important that a Pulitzer prize.”

Hutzell also spoke about the shooting that took place in the Capital Gazette newsroom on June 28, 2018. He described the toll that the attack had on himself and his staff.

“There are people who suffer from PTSD and are in counselling,” Hutzell said. “Six or five members of my staff will be witnesses at the trial. So I’ve made the unusual decision to cover the story. And we’ve made the effort to separate people part of the story and reporting on

the story.”

Much like Shribman, Hutzell honored the bravery and dedication of his staff, especially those who died defending the newsroom during the attack. He also expressed how continuing to write for the community was an important part of his healing.

“I don’t want to separate what happened because it happened. I’m living this. It has informed my journalism. It has informed my writing,” Hutzell said. “The thing about journalism is that you have to look life right in the eyes. You can’t look away.”

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