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Record wins inaugural prize named for Nobel laureate

A second major award in four days was bestowed last week on the Marion County Record when it was honored in suburban Washington, D.C., as winner of the inaugural Maria Ressa Prize for Courage in Local or Independent Journalism.

Editor and publisher Eric Meyer accepted the award in a ceremony sponsored by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

Other winners of inaugural Courage in Journalism awards were ProPublica for its uncovering of extensive, unreported travel gifts received by Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and the Daily Northwestern for exposing systematic hazing in the school’s football program, reporting that led to the firing of its coach.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, detained for more than a year in Russia, received a special citation in absentia.

Ressa, winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and an acclaimed champion of global press freedom, was present for the ceremony and for a private dinner afterward with award recipients and the university president at his official residence.

A former CNN investigative reporter who co-founded Rappler, the leading digital news site in the Philippines, Ressa recounted for Meyer how she had followed the story of Aug. 11 raids on the Record newsroom in real time from the Philippines and was doubly saddened to learn the next day of the death of Meyer’s mother, Joan, from stress attributable to her home also being raided.

Jailed multiple times by a repressive regime in the Philippines, Ressa said she always had looked to the United States as a shining example of where press freedom was inviolate.

To see events in the U.S. reminiscent of challenges she faced in the Philippines was especially disheartening, she said.

At the time of the raid, even before Joan Meyer’s death, Ressa posted on social media: “It’s happening to you now … death by a thousand cuts.”

Last modified March 20, 2024

 

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