The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) welcomed more than 160 alumni, supporters and friends to the 28th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner in New York City on Nov. 3, 2021. TFAS and its esteemed guests were thrilled to be back at the Metropolitan Club to honor the best in real, honest American journalism with prestigious Fellowships and journalism achievement awards.
To open the night, TFAS awarded Neal B. Freeman the Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award for his lifelong dedication to exceptional ethical journalism, presented by 2019 honoree Roger Kimball. In Freeman’s acceptance remarks, he thanked TFAS and acknowledged the legacy of the TFAS journalism fellowship’s namesake.
“Robert Novak cared about young journalists because he cared about America,” Freeman said. “He believed that without a free and skeptical press, America could never achieve a free and democratic republic.”
The Novak Fellowship offers early-career journalists the opportunity to pursue year-long projects on topics related to the principles of a free society through grant funding. TFAS welcomed the seven 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellows during the dinner. Fellows Kevin Daley, Kenny Xu, Emma Freire, Sonner Kehrt, Nate Hochman, Micah Meadowcroft, and John Farley Alumni Fund Fellow Oliver Wiseman shared remarks of gratitude and their plans for the fellowship projects.
Fellow Kevin Daley, Novak ’21, is a writer for the Washington Free Beacon. His Novak project will be a series on the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard, which is a challenge to Harvard’s race-conscious admissions program. Daley’s work will go beyond the case to demonstrate Harvard’s “pervasive dishonesty and the pattern of retaliation against dissenters.”
Daley thanked TFAS and the Novak Fellowship program for the opportunity to pursue his project, calling the program “one nexus where people who are serious about sound and effective journalism practices come for training and information.”
“I think basically every person of consequence in the center right media came through the Novak program at one point or another, so I have long considered Novak to be an essential career goal and a marker of future career success,” Daley said. “I thought that it was not only important that I do so but probably a good litmus test of whether or not I had a real future in news reporting.“
During the event, TFAS was honored to welcome Paul and Nancy Rago to celebrate the legacy of their late son, Joseph Rago. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Rago passed away in 2017. The following year, the Rago Family worked alongside The Journal to establish the TFAS Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism to honor Joe’s dedication to honest journalism throughout his career.
2021-22 Rago Fellow Faith Bottum received her Fellowship award during the dinner and shared remarks with attendees on how reading Joseph Rago’s work inspired her to commit to true independent journalism. Since September, Bottum has interned with The Journal’s editorial team, writing under her own byline and editing opinion pieces. She called the opportunity “a dream job.”
“I get to learn how to edit and write from the best, and in my opinion The Journal is the best place ever for young journalists to be,” she said.
“I think anyone who’s supporting this and anyone who’s involved in this in any way is doing really important work,” she continued. “There aren’t enough people in this country that are promoting fellowships and teaching young adults how to write and edit to be a voice in this country. And I’m eternally grateful [to TFAS for doing] that.”
To close out the night, TFAS presented alumna Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05, the 2021 Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Journalism for her exhibition of excellence in reporting and a determination to present the truth.
Upon her acceptance, Mangu-Ward thanked TFAS and said through its fellowships and programs, TFAS plays an integral role in educating future generations to be civil and respectful, even in politically divisive times.
“TFAS’s project is and always has been bigger than any given election, and I think that’s really important,” she said. “It’s about preparing another generation to fight for a future of individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom.”
TFAS is grateful to our supporters who made this program and dinner possible through their investment in the mission to equip the next generation of responsible journalists. These Fellowships play a critical role in shaping the future of media in our country, and TFAS thanks those supporters who make it happen.
As TFAS president Roger Ream ’76 stated, “Through our Fellowship programs, we are developing courageous leaders who can keep the American experiment in liberty going strong for future generations.”
To watch the full ceremony, click the video below.
Thank You to Our Dinner Committee: