Journalists Fred Graham, Brian Lamb and Josh Gerstein, and media lawyer Barbara Wall were honored for their efforts to promote press freedom and government transparency at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press First Amendment Awards Dinner last night at The Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.
The first Reporters Committee Distinguished Service Award was presented to Fred Graham by Nina Totenberg of NPR. Graham was a founding member of the Reporters Committee in 1970 and has been a member of its Steering Committee ever since. He was a reporter and anchor for Court TV, CBS News and was U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times. To further recognize his work, the award has been renamed the Fred Graham Distinguished Service Award.
Also honored at the dinner with First Amendment Awards were:
- Josh Gerstein, White House reporter for Politico, for his ongoing coverage of legal and national security issues, government secrecy and freedom of information. The award was presented by Bill Hamilton, national security editor of The New York Times.
- Brian Lamb, executive chairman of C-SPAN Networks, for his unparalleled success in bringing cameras into the Congress, enabling people nationwide to watch their elected officials at work. The award was presented by Doyle McManus, Washington editor of the Los Angeles Times, and accepted on Lamb's behalf by C-SPAN corporate vice president and general counsel Bruce Collins.
- Barbara W. Wall, vice president and senior associate general counsel for Gannett Co. Inc., who has tirelessly led legal challenges that protect the First Amendment rights for all journalists. Gannett CEO Gracia Martore presented the award to Wall.
Co-chairs of the First Amendment Awards Dinner were John Fahey, chairman and CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Katharine Weymouth, CEO of Washington Post Media and publisher of The Washington Post.
Hosts for the evening were Pierre Thomas, chief Justice Department correspondent for ABC News, and Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent and co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour. Both Thomas and Woodruff are members of the Reporters Committee’s Steering Committee.
Leading law firms and media organizations hosted tables and provided support for the event. To learn more about the event and the honorees, and for a list of donors, go to www.rcfp.org/gala2012.
About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
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