At ICFJ's 2023 Tribute to Journalists, we celebrated outstanding journalism globally. Hundreds gathered together for the gala in Washington, DC, while many more from across the world watched online. The evening's highlights included:
Veteran CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer , who accepted the ICFJ Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism from Tel Aviv, said: “I would have loved to have been with you tonight, but I'm here in Israel doing the work at the heart of this award , reporting international news with huge consequences for the entire world.” Blitzer, who served as emcee for the Tribute for 10 years, said he was humbled by the recognition and proud to support ICFJ: “The programs you offer and the resources you provide are a lifeline for journalists.” Read more and watch his tribute video , narrated by CBS News' Michelle Miller.
James Nachtwey , one of the most influential photojournalists of this era, said pursuing the truth is the difficult, often dangerous work that journalists and news organizations must do. “It must be done with integrity, and it must be perceived that way by the public,” said Nachtwey. “ICFJ not only teaches emerging journalists their craft; it also instills in them the value of integrity.” Nachtwey received the inaugural ICFJ Excellence in Visual Journalism Award. Read more .
Jacqueline Charles, the Caribbean correspondent for the Miami Herald who has reported on Haiti for more than two decades, challenged fellow journalists: “Let's put a human face on the consequences of failed policies and decisions and emphasize that culture, language and geography should not deprive anyone of their entitlement to life and hope.” Charles received the ICFJ Excellence in International Reporting Award. Read more and watch her tribute video , narrated by NBC News' Yamiche Alcindor.
Mariam Ouédraogo , who has shone a light on the impact of extremist violence in Burkina Faso, dedicated her award to women victims of the conflict. Reflecting on her own trauma as a reporter, she said: “I feel it is my duty to go back in the field, to be the eyes and ears of society.” Ouédraogo received the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award. Read more and watch her video , narrated by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.
Riad Kobaissi , who has investigated high-level corruption in Lebanon, said he was asked to change his remarks after his friend, video journalist Issam Abdallah , was killed filming Israeli missile attacks. He called “for balanced and objective media coverage of the ongoing conflict in the region... something which many Western media outlets have always championed, yet unfortunately, some failed to achieve.” Kobaissi received the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award. Read more and watch his video , narrated by 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker.
The program also amplified calls to release imprisoned journalists Jose Rubén Zamora and Evan Gershkovich. ICFJ Board Director Jose Zamora said authorities prosecuted his father to send "a message to all journalists in Guatemala: If you investigate us, you will pay a high price.” Paul Beckett, assistant editor of The Wall Street Journal, said: “Russia wants the world to think that independent reporting is a crime. We are here to say that journalism is NOT a crime.”
Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post, MSNBC host and PBS NewsHour contributor, served as our fantastic emcee for the second year in a row, for which we are immensely grateful. And the evening featured an auction of iconic, signed prints from the foremost photojournalists of a generation, including one from Nachtwey.
You can also see photos of the evening here.
Finally, Michael Golden announced that Carrie Budoff Brown, senior vice president for politics at NBC News, would succeed him as chair of the ICFJ board. Budoff Brown said: “ICFJ is in excellent shape and achieving so much, due in no small measure” to Golden, who will remain on the board as a vice chair. “I am so honored to follow in your footsteps,” she told him. Read more .
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Thank you for joining us for this important tribute to journalists.