Medill Journalism Award Ceremony and Symposium April 26-27 in Evanston

On April 26 and 27, Medill will present “Reporting in a Dangerous World,” to raise awareness about journalism under threat at home and internationally.

James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism Winners Interview

On April 26 in the evening, Medill will welcome the 2023 James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism winners, New York Times reporters Julie Turkewitz and Federico Rios, who were selected for their exclusive coverage in the Darién Gap. The Darién Gap is one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes, a remote crossing on the border between Colombia and Panama with more than 60 miles of forests, mountains and swamps. Hundreds of thousands of migrants dreaming of the United States risk crossing the gap, even though in April 2023, U.S. officials announced they had struck a deal with Colombia and Panama to shut down the Darién Gap route.

Turkewitz and Rios exposed the enormous official smuggling scheme behind this humanitarian crisis. They went to Colombia to reveal how government officials, despite pledging to end illicit migration through the Darién, were actually running the business themselves, making fortunes from a massive people-moving operation that has vastly expanded the tide of desperate people marching toward the American border.

Jim Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, will attend the medal ceremony and give remarks. The winners will be interviewed by Medill alumna and CBS correspondent Roxana Saberi. Saberi was made an honorary recipient of the medal in 2009 after her release from Evin Prison in Tehran. In 2009, the Iranian government convicted Saberi of espionage and sentenced her to eight years in prison. After spending 101 days in jail, she was released after an appeals court suspended her sentence.

“Reporting in a Dangerous World” Lineup

On April 27, Medill will host a symposium featuring three panels and a lunch conversation.

The symposium will kick off with “Protecting a Free Press: Ever-Growing Risks to Journalists Around the World” featuring Clayton Weimers, the Executive Director of RSF USA, the North American branch of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Lucy Westcott, director of the CPJ’s Emergencies Department. Medill faculty member Bob Rowley will moderate this conversation about the general conditions for journalists around the world.

The second panel, “Harassment, Threats & Violence: Protecting American Journalists under Pressure,” will welcome Eric Meyer, the editor and publisher of the Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas, Art Kane, investigations editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Axios reporter and Selene San Felice. Meyer’s newspaper’s offices were raided by local police in August 2023. Kane’s newsroom colleague, Jeff German, a veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter, was murdered in 2022. San Felice was formerly a features and enterprise reporter at The Capital in Annapolis, where she survived the newsroom shooting on June 28, 2018. Lauren Chooljian, senior reporter/producer at New Hampshire Public Radio’s DOCUMENT team, will moderate this talk.

The third panel, “Forced to Flee: Experiences and work of three displaced journalists from Haiti, Afghanistan and Cameroon,” will feature three international journalists who are now in the U.S. Medill Associate Professor Kalyani Chadha will speak with Roberson Alphonse, head of national news at le Nouvelliste, Haiti’s oldest and largest daily newspaper, Zahra Nader,  the editor-in-chief of Zan Times, a new women-led newsroom-in-exile that covers the human rights situation in Afghanistan and exiled journalist Haman Mana, publisher of Le Jour Daily Newspaper, Yaounde, Cameroon.  Mana fled Cameroon in early February following the paper’s investigation of corruption and influence peddling by a powerful media mogul and is currently serving as a Medill  journalist in residence.

Lunch Discussion with Medill Dean Charles Whitaker

Between the second and third panels, a box lunch will be served while Dean Whitaker talks with Diane Foley and artist Bradley McCallum, whose artwork featuring Jim Foley’s footage is on exhibit at the Northwestern University Library through June 14. McCallum uses Foley’s video footage from the civil wars in Libya and Syria to create oil paintings that he further activates with augmented reality, allowing viewers to experience Foley’s presence, and the footage that inspired the paintings.

Since her son’s killing, Diane Foley has worked tirelessly to preserve Jim’s memory and raise awareness – and money – in an effort to bring U.S. hostages home and keep journalists safe.  She will be signing her new book “American Mother,” co-authored with Colum McCann, at the symposium on Saturday.

These events are free and open to the public, but registration is required.  

Registration for Friday’s Medal Presentation and Talk:

Registration for the Saturday symposium and lunch: