2018 Freedom of the Press Awards

Thank you for your interest in our 2018 Freedom of the Press Awards, recognizing leaders in journalism and media law, on May 22, 2018 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

Our 2018 honorees are
Dean Baquet, Executive Editor - The New York Times
Lynn Novick, Documentary Filmmaker - Florentine Films
Robert Siegel, Former Senior Host, All Things Considered - NPR
Nabiha Syed, Assistant General Counsel - BuzzFeed (Nabiha will receive the inaugural Rising Star Award.)
A special thank you to our 2018 dinner chairs:
Donald A. Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO - Burson-Marsteller
Paula Kerger, President and CEO - PBS
John A. Herrmann, Jr.,  Senior Advisor - Lincoln International
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman - The New York Times Company
Information about how to purchase a table, tickets, or a congratulatory ad is available here.

About our honorees:

Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times
Credit: Todd Heisler

As executive editor of the New York Times since May 2014, Dean Baquet holds the highest-ranking position in the Times’ newsroom and oversees the Times’ news report in all its various forms. He is the first black American to serve as executive editor of the Times.

Baquet first joined the Times in 1990 as a Metro reporter after reporting for the Chicago Tribune for more than five years and for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans for nearly seven years.

While at the Chicago Tribune, Baquet served as associate Metro editor for investigations and was chief investigative reporter, covering corruption in politics and the garbage-hauling industry. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in March 1988 when he led a team of three in documenting corruption in the Chicago City Council and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 in the investigative reporting category. He also received the Peter Lisagor Award for investigative reporting in 1988 and the William H. Jones Award for Investigative Reporting in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

In May 1992, Baquet became special projects editor for the business desk at the Times and in 1994, held the same title but operated out of the executive editor’s office. He was elevated to deputy Metro editor in May 1995 and then to National editor in July 1995. After moving to the Los Angeles Times for several years, where he served as managing editor and then editor, Baquet rejoined the Times in 2007 as Washington bureau chief and became managing editor in 2011.

Baquet was born in New Orleans and majored in English at Columbia University from 1974 to 1978.

Lynn Novick, Documentary Filmmaker, Florentine Films

Lynn Novick is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been directing and producing films about American history and culture, most recently The Vietnam War, an immersive, 10-part, 18-hour epic co-directed with Ken Burns that aired on PBS last fall. Novick and Burns have collaborated on some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS, including Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven-part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences during World War II.
Novick began her film career as a production assistant at WNET, a public television station in Manhattan. She then worked on Bill Moyers’ projects Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth and A World of Ideas before moving to Florentine Films in 1989 to work as an associate producer for post-production on Burns’s 1990 series, The Civil War.
Novick is currently directing College Behind Bars (working title), a feature-length documentary about a group of men and women imprisoned in New York State for serious crimes, struggling to earn degrees in one of the most rigorous and effective liberal arts programs operating in American prisons – the Bard Prison Initiative. The film will air on PBS in 2019. She is also collaborating with Burns on a two-part biography of Ernest Hemingway that is slated for completion in 2020, and a multi-part series on the presidency of Lyndon Johnson
Novick was born and raised in New York City and is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University with honors in American Studies.
Robert Siegel, Former Host, NPR’s All Things Considered
Credit: Stephen Voss
Prior to his retirement in January of this year, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR’s award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country’s most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program.
Siegel began his career as a morning news reporter and telephone talk show host for WGLI radio in Babylon, New York before moving to WRVR radio in New York City, where he worked as a reporter, host and news director.
Siegel joined NPR in December 1976 as a newscaster and became an editor the following year. In 1979, he became NPR’s first staffer based overseas when he was chosen to open NPR’s London bureau, where he worked as senior editor until 1983. After London, Siegel served for four years as director of the News and Information department, overseeing production of NPR’s newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition. During his tenure, NPR launched its popular Saturday and Sunday newsmagazine Weekend Edition. He became host of All Things Considered in 1987.
Siegel has been honored with numerous awards throughout his career, including the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award in 1997 for the two-part documentary, Murder, Punishment and Parole in Alabama, and the National Mental Health Association’s 1991 Mental Health Award for his interviews conducted on the streets of New York in an All Things Considered story, The Mentally Ill Homeless. He has also been honored with three Silver Batons from Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University and in 2010, was recognized by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with the John Chancellor Award.
Siegel graduated from Columbia University, where he anchored coverage of the 1968 Columbia demonstrations for the university’s radio station, WKCR-FM, and contributed to the work that earned the station an award from the Writers Guild of America East.
Nabiha Syed, Assistant General Counsel, Buzzfeed

As assistant general counsel at Buzzfeed, Nabiha Syed serves as chief newsroom counsel for its U.S. bureau and handles publication, privacy and access matters across the globe.
Syed was inspired to pursue a career in First Amendment and media law after listening to a talk by Lucy Dalglish, former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, while she was a student at Yale Law School. In 2009, she co-founded the Media Freedom and Information Access legal clinic at Yale and in 2011, she was named a First Amendment Fellow at the New York Times.
Before joining Buzzfeed in 2015, Syed worked as an associate at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, a leading First Amendment law firm (now part of Ballard Spahr LLP). She has worked on legal access issues at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; counseled on whether to publish hacked and leaked materials; and advised documentary filmmakers through the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. She has served as adjunct faculty at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism teaching media law to journalism students and is a non-resident fellow at both Stanford Law School and Yale Law School.
Syed was recognized as one of “30 Under 30” in Law and Policy by Forbes in 2014, was named a “40 Under 40 Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal in 2016 and was a finalist for the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the International Bar Association in 2017.
Syed was born and raised in Orange County, California and is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Yale Law School and Oxford University.