The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is thrilled to announce The E.W. Scripps Company and NBCUniversal News Group as presenting sponsors for the 2022 Freedom of the Press Awards on October 11 in New York. Kristen Welker, co-anchor of “Weekend Today” and NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, will host the evening’s celebration.
The Freedom of the Press Awards recognize the exceptional achievements of Kevin T. Baine, senior counsel at Williams & Connolly LLP; Azmat Khan, investigative reporter, The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine; Wendi C. Thomas, founding editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism; Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour; and Sahan Journal, led by Founding Publisher and CEO Mukhtar M. Ibrahim.
“By supporting RCFP’s legal fellowships and our Freedom of the Press Awards, The E.W. Scripps Company and NBCUniversal News Group are helping ensure that local journalists get the free legal services they need to do their jobs in the public interest,” said Stephen J. Adler, chairman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “We are honored that they are joining us as presenting sponsors.”
“Through the generous support of The E.W. Scripps Company and NBCUniversal News Group, we have been able to grow our fellowship program to provide additional legal services for local journalists and journalists of color,” said Bruce Brown, executive director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “We deeply appreciate these valuable contributions that make our work possible.”
In 2019, The E.W. Scripps Company and the Reporters Committee established The E.W. Scripps Fellow for Press Freedom, a legal fellowship that brings media law resources to local communities that too often lack the necessary resources to pursue access to open records. The two-year fellows provide legal support to journalists and news organizations in matters involving access to courts and records, defamation defense, and other First Amendment issues, like working to strengthen anti-SLAPP laws in New York or providing pre-publication review of news stories and documentary films.
“The E.W. Scripps Company is committed to the defense of the First Amendment, transparency and access – all elements necessary for a healthy democracy,” said Adam Symson, Scripps President & CEO. “The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is among the most important partners on the front lines of this fight, ensuring that journalists are able to do their jobs on behalf of the public.”
Earlier this year, NBCUniversal News Group announced a multi-year grant to sustain and expand pro bono legal support for journalists of color and newsrooms that are led by journalists of color. The inaugural NBCU News Group Race Equity in Journalism Fellow will start at the Reporters Committee in the fall of 2022, and will conduct focused outreach to journalists of color and newsrooms led by journalists of color to better understand and support their unique legal needs through pro bono legal services, resources and training.
“We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Reporters Committee and our work together to preserve the legal rights of journalists,” said Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCU News Group. “We look forward to celebrating those who are being honored by First Amendment Awards for their journalism and their work on behalf of journalists and all of our audiences.”
Welker is hosting the Awards for the second time, after joining in 2021 for the Reporters Committee’s 50th Anniversary Virtual Celebration. Welker joined “Weekend TODAY” as co-anchor in January 2020 and began covering the White House for NBC News in December 2011, traveling domestically and internationally with President Obama, the First Lady, and then-Vice President Biden. She also covered President Trump’s administration, the 2020 presidential race and is currently leading the network’s coverage of the Biden administration.
The 2022 Freedom of the Press Awards will be held on October 11, 2022, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. The awards dinner is co-chaired by CEO of the Americas and U.S. Senior Partner at Brunswick Group Nikhil Deogun and Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times A.G. Sulzberger.