On November 18, The Fund for American Studies supporters and friends gathered in person and joined online for the 27th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner.
The annual event typically takes place in New York City, but due to COVID restrictions, we instead hosted an intimate gathering in Washington, D.C. and broadcasted remarks live from the National Press Club.
For more than a quarter-century, TFAS has fostered the careers of outstanding journalists, including many who have gone on to become Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, editors of national magazines, and authors of bestselling books. This year has shown how critically our country needs exceptional journalists. We’ve seen how fake news, half-truths, twisted facts and severely edited videos can shape public perception of the critical issues that surround us.
TFAS presented Maria Bartiromo, Fox News anchor of Mornings with Maria, with the Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award for her lifelong dedication to outstanding journalism. She has been a beacon during this tumultuous period with her commitment to honest reporting and clear, focused analysis of the facts, sharing them daily with the viewers on her program.
In her keynote address, Bartiromo said it was a privilege to be honored alongside the Fellows, citing the importance of a free press to a free and flourishing society.
“Particularly now at this moment in time, when journalism seems to be at a crossroads and freedom of the press is being curtailed, objectivity and fairness have come second to opinions and ideologies and censorship is happening in front of our eyes,” she said.
During the ceremony, TFAS also introduced the six journalists who were awarded the 2020-21 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowships, including the very first recipient of the John Farley Memorial Alumni Fund Fellowship. John Farley was director of the Novak Fellowship program for many years and was responsible for transitioning the program from the Phillips Foundation to TFAS in 2013. Upon his passing earlier this year, TFAS and the Farley family established the memorial fellowship in his honor.
Fellow Lyman Stone, Novak ’20, shared the impact that the Novak Fellowship will have on his ability to research policy as it relates to global population. Stone’s project titled “As Many As I Want: Restoring Individual Preferences to Population Policymaking,” will explore the ways in which governments across the globe respond to population increases, and the potential encroachment of this on personal freedoms.
“My project is exploring where individual liberties and ideas of individual rights, fit into a world where governments are increasingly preoccupied with a basically collective question about population,” Stone shared.
The six new Novak Fellows exemplify the honorable qualities we have come to expect from TFAS Fellows. You can read all about these incredible individuals here.
The evening also honored the life and legacy of Joseph Rago, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, who died in 2017 at the age of 34.
Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Journal, delivered remarks on Joe’s contributions to journalism. In memory of Joe, TFAS and the Rago family established the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism, providing a nine-month internship with The Wall Street Journal’s editorial team. The 2020 Fellow, Alessandra Bocchi, Rago ’20, was officially awarded her fellowship at the dinner.
Born in Italy, Bocchi has worked in North Africa, Hong Kong, and across Europe. She has reported on a breadth of issues including Islamist terrorist attacks, the migrant crisis and populist uprisings in Europe, and has also covered foreign policy issues in the United States. Throughout her career, Bocchi has worked for Arab, Italian and American newspapers.
Bocchi said that Joseph Rago’s legacy has inspired her and other young journalists to pursue honesty and integrity in their professional endeavors.
“When I saw [Joe’s work], I found everything about what I respect in journalism: a commitment to truth and intellectual integrity, and the courage to go against the crowd,” she said. “He therefore is, and will remain, a point of reference for me and countless journalists who pursue this profession. When people ask me for advice on how to start out in journalism, I can only point to Joe as one of our greatest examples.”
We were grateful to be able to come together in some form this year, even if the challenges of a pandemic made it difficult. We’re especially grateful to our supporters who made this dinner and this program possible through their investment in our work. These Fellowships play a critical role in the shaping of future journalists in our country, and TFAS thanks those supporters who make it happen.
To watch the full ceremony, click the video link below.
Thank You, Sponsors!
TFAS thanks the following individuals and organizations for serving as sponsors of the event. Their support allows us to reach the next generation of top-notch journalists.