The 79th Overseas Press Club Awards Dinner celebrated the unprecedented work and risks taken by journalists to keep the public informed about conflicted zones throughout the world. Those journalists are often accused of spreading "fake news," silenced, imprisoned and killed.
"There were at least 50 documented deaths of journalists last year, one of the worst years on record," said keynoter Joseph Kahn, managing editor of the New York Times. "Several hundred more journalists have been jailed to stop their reporting. We need the OPC now more than ever to keep our attention focused on the risk that our colleagues are taking and to celebrate their best work."
The April 26 black-tie affair was held at Cipriani's in New York. More than 400 attended the event, which was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, Chevron Corporation, Edelman and Ralph Lauren.
The event featured the Dateline, #womenonthefrontlines theme and highlighted articles by women working as correspondents and photographers in some of the most dangerous spots in the world.
Joseph Kahn, managing editor of the New York Times
photos: Jane Landers
"Among the biggest international stories of the year were in large part by female correspondents who set a new benchmark for reporting about war and its aftermath," said Kahn.
• I Want Justice, by Allison Joyce, covered the violence against the Rohingya in Burma;
• The Uncounted Dead, by Azmat Khan, examined the sites of airstrikes a by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq;
• In the Thick of it, by Melinda Liu, recorded her experiences on the frontlines in Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
• Moving to Mogadishu, by Christina Goldbaum, chased down the truth in Somalia as witnessed by the only foreign correspondent permanently based there.
Kahn spoke of a colleague: "Lindsay Crouse of the NYT wrote a story last week about what happened when frigid temperature, whipping wind and frozen drops of rain disrupted the Boston Marathon.
In those conditions, men dropped out of the race at an 80% higher rate than usual. Women were more resilient. Their drop out rate rose by 12%.
Protecting and promoting good journalism is a battle that may not be won any time soon. It's looking a lot like running a marathon in lousy weather. We all need more women on journalism side," he said.
Ingrid & Joachim Wall, parents of Kim Wall, light Candle of Remembrance.
Ingrid and Joachim Wall lit the OPC Candle of Remembrance honoring all the colleagues whose lives have been lost or imprisoned and in honor of their daughter Kim Well, a freelance journalist, who was 30 years old when brutally killed on an assignment in Denmark.
Ingrid spoke, "We wish we were proud parents sitting over at our table as our daughter received awards for some of her stories. We wish that every journalist could do their important work without risking their lives. And we wish for the next years that there won't be any need for a remembering candle."
The President's Award went to Kath Gannon, Senior Correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Associated Press, who was injured while covering the war and continues to report from the frontlines.
"We are not the story but the storyteller" and "we give voices to those who struggle to be heard, who live with chaos, tragedy and soldier on because they have to. Their courage inspires me." as told by Gannon. "Fear is just a line inside your head. You choose on what side of the line you want to be," words remembered by Gannon from a Pakistani activist who was shot and killed.
José Díaz-Balart, News Anchor of "Noticiero Telemundo" and NBC News, handed out numerous awards in 22 categories to honor the best of international journalism in Newspapers, News Services, Digital, Magazines, Radio, Podcasts, Television, Video, Cartoons, Books and Photography.