In recognition of his unceasing efforts to strengthen and support the work of investigative journalists in the U.S. and abroad, journalist and author Charles Lewis has been awarded the 2018 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. He will receive the award during a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., on May 3, 2018.
Announcing the award, Florence Graves, chair of the I.F. Stone Medal selection committee said: “For nearly four decades, Chuck Lewis has led the reporting of groundbreaking journalism to uncover government corruption, cronyism cover-ups and crimes. A pioneer in nonprofit news, he has worked tirelessly to raise funds to help others do the same and to protect the independence of their work, free from the constraints of news organizations beholden to special interests. His important work carries on the proud tradition of I.F. Stone, speaking truth to power, and prompting fact-finding hearings and vital reforms.”
Lewis is the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop based at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C., where he is a tenured professor of journalism. The award-winning Workshop has published over 200 stories and hired and trained more than 135 student researchers in the past decade.
A former ABC News and CBS News “60 Minutes” producer, Lewis also founded two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organizations, the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity in 1989, and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 1997. ICIJ was the first global network of investigative reporters to develop and publish online multimedia exposés across borders.
In April 2016, ICIJ published the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Panama Papers,” its 26th cross-border investigation, about secretive offshore tax havens used by the rich and powerful. The largest collaboration in the history of journalism, it involved a leaked cache of 11.5 million financial records, analyzed and reported by more than 370 journalists in 76 countries and published in over 100 newspapers around the world. In February 2017, ICIJ became a separate, independent, nonprofit organization based in the United States.
Under Lewis’s leadership from 1989 through 2004, the Center for Public Integrity published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books. Its major reporting projects were honored more than 30 times by national journalism organizations. In 2014, Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing “how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease, resulting in remedial legislative efforts.” Submissions from online-only news outlets, including nonprofit news organizations like CPI, were not eligible for Pulitzer consideration prior to 2008.
In recent years, Lewis has taken a leadership role in developing what he calls the “new journalism ecosystem.” He co-founded new nonprofit journalism organizations, such as the Investigative News Network (now called the Institute for Nonprofit News), which has become a significant support system for more than 100 nonprofit news organizations. Lewis has been a force in fostering collaborations between these groups and established news media.
He is the author of “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity” (PublicAffairs, 2014), and co-author of five Center for Public Integrity books: “The Buying of the President” (1996), “The Buying of the Congress” (1998), “The Buying of the President 2000” (2000), “The Cheating of America” (2001) and “The Buying of the President 2004” (2004), a New York Times best-seller.
Lewis has been a Ferris Professor at Princeton University, a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
In 1998, he received a MacArthur Fellowship and in 2004, he was given the PEN USA First Amendment award “for expanding the reach of investigative journalism, for his courage in going after a story regardless of whose toes he steps on, and for boldly exercising his freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” In 2009, the Encyclopedia of Journalism called him “one of the 30 most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I.”
Established in 2008, the I.F Stone Medal honors the life of investigative journalist I.F. Stone and is presented annually to a journalist whose work captures the spirit of journalistic independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly, published from 1953 to 1971. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.
Along with chair Florence Graves, the founding director of The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, the other members of the 2018 I.F. Stone Medal selection committee are: Myra MacPherson, author of the biography “All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone”; Phillip Martin, a senior investigative reporter for WGBH News and a 1998 Nieman Fellow; Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, senior editor for InsideClimate News and former president of the board of directors for the Fund for Investigative Journalism; and Jacqueline E. Sharkey, professor emerita and former director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,500 journalists from 96 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a website and quarterly print magazine that covers thought leadership in journalism; Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.
For more information about I.F. Stone, visit www.ifstone.org.