Anderson, Khashoggi, Ressa and Ut named SPJ Fellows of the Society
Matthew Kent, Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes Terry Anderson, Maria Ressa, Nick Ut and, posthumously, Jamal Khashoggi, as Fellows of the Society, the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ, for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.
"The theme of our Fellows awards this year is 'courage.' Faced with daunting challenges to our profession, from rising political repression to the deliberate spreading of misinformation, we are being challenged to stand up for our principles," said J. Alex Tarquinio, SPJ national president.
“These four journalists embody everything that is good and true and necessary about our profession. While SPJ is inducting them as Fellows of the Society, our organization's highest honor, we are the ones who will be honored to be in the company of such brave, heroic journalists," Tarquinio said.
Anderson, Khashoggi, Ressa and Ut will be honored as Fellows of the Society at the Excellence in Journalism 2019 conference, in San Antonio, Sept. 5-7. During the President’s Installation Banquet on Sept. 7, they (and a representative of Khashoggi) will each receive a jeweled key and plaque for their contributions. Tickets for the President’s Banquet are still available.
Earlier on Saturday during EIJ19, Anderson, Ressa and Ut will participate in the session “Fine Fellows, Future Focus: SPJ Fellows ponder what’s next for journalism,” 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Lone Star F at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio.
Terry Anderson is a former foreign correspondent and professor of journalism. He was a radio, TV and newspaper journalist before joining the Associated Press, where he was assigned to locations in Tokyo, Johannesburg and Beirut.
During the Lebanese civil war, he was kidnapped by radical Shiites and was held for 6 years, 9 months, before being released. Anderson is the founder and co-chair of the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which has built more than 50 schools in Vietnam. In addition, he is honorary chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists and created the Father Lawrence Jenco Foundation with a $100,000 endowment to honor and support people who do charitable and community service projects in Appalachia. The foundation honors his late prison companion and mentor, the Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco.
Anderson has also taught journalism and diversity at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism, the University of Kentucky, Syracuse University and the University of Florida.
“I am honored to be chosen as an SPJ fellow. The SPJ has worked long to teach and uphold the highest standards of journalism and defend its necessity in maintaining a free society. At this time these efforts are more vital than ever. I am pleased to join you and all my colleagues in the fight,” Anderson said.
Jamal Khashoggi was one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent journalists. He was an author, columnist for The Washington Post and general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. In September 2017, Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia, later writing articles critical of the Saudi government.
Khashoggi, 59, was a leading critic of Saudi Arabia’s current leadership, sharing his views via opinion columns in the Washington Post that were translated into Arabic.
In October 2018, Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul while awaiting paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
Time Magazine named Khashoggi as its Person of the Year in December 2018 as part of a group of journalists called “The Guardians.”
Maria Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years and is a former CNN bureau chief who reported in Manila and Jakarta before becoming CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in southeast Asia.
She is chief executive officer and executive editor of Rappler, a company she co-founded in 2012 and helped turn it into one of the most influential and innovative news organizations in the Philippines.
She was arrested for “cyber libel” amid accusations of various instances of falsified news and corporate tax evasion on Feb. 13. She has since posted bail while the lawsuits are pending in regional court. An outspoken critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, her arrest was seen by the international community as a politically motivated act by the government.
Ressa, who was selected as one of “The Guardians” for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in December 2018, was also named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019.
“Thank you to the Society of Professional Journalists for helping us shine the light in the Philippines, ground zero in a global battle of truth,” Ressa said. “It takes courage to fight back against the insidious manipulation enabled by social media platforms and used as a new weapon against journalists: where lies laced with anger and hate spread faster than facts.
“The battle for truth is the battle of our generation. With technology as the accelerant, a lie told a million times becomes a fact. Without facts, we don't have truth. Without truth, there is no trust. This is why democracy is broken around the world. In our country, the bottom up exponential attacks on social media astroturfing and creating a bandwagon effect act to soften the ground before the same lies come top down from our top government officials.”
Nick Ut is a retired photojournalist with the Associated Press, where he worked for 51 years. During his time with AP, Ut covered the war in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and World Press Photo of the Year for his June 8, 1972, photo “The Terror of War” depicting children fleeing from a napalm bombing on their village, including a naked 9-year-old girl Kim Phuc.
Ut, who eventually relocated to Japan for the AP, went on to report in Los Angeles, where he covered wildfires, riots, earthquakes, the O.J. Simpson trial and other news events. He was honored by the SPJ Greater Los Angeles chapter with a lifetime achievement award in 2009.
“I would like to thank the Society of Professional Journalists for this recognition. I am honored and humbled to be among an amazing group of highly respected journalists,” Ut said.
“I, like the SPJ, believe in the free practice of journalism. It is our job, whether it’s through images or stories, to help share, educate, inspire, and keep people informed about the good, bad, and the ugly that is going on in the world today. The image I took helped shed a light on the atrocities of war and what was really happening in Vietnam. I encourage those to not be afraid to share their truth and not hold back in telling their stories,” he said.
A list of previous honorees is available here.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.