Journalists’ Committee Wins Nieman Award

Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism recently honored the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for its efforts to safeguard the rights and lives of journalists around the world.

The CPJ will receive a $1,000 honorarium as part of this year’s Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.

“Particularly in light of the journalists who have lost their lives in recent months, it’s the CPJ more than anybody else that has sought to make people understand the difficult work journalists do and to protect them,” said Seth Effron, deputy curator of the Nieman Foundation.

The CPJ, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization founded in 1981 by a group of American journalists, publicizes and protests offenses against journalists. In specific instances, the CPJ acts on behalf of journalists facing physical or legal threats—including kidnapping, imprisonment, harassment and censorship.

Such measures have been publicized recently in the aftermath of Sept. 11, particularly in the case of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who disappeared while reporting on the war in Afghanistan and was subsequently killed.

The award was created by the 1964 class of Nieman Fellows to honor retiring curator Louis Lyons, who had administered the program since 1939.

Effron said the award was a “way for the Nieman fellows to look at what’s going on in journalism and highlight an area, individual or group that’s doing important work to elevate the standards of journalism.”

The Nieman fellows, an annually-selected group of about two dozen mid-career journalists who come to Harvard for a year of academic study, informally nominate and discuss candidates for the award, Effron said.

While he said there were some other candidates considered, Effron said CPJ was the unanimous choice of the fellows.

On May 16, the Fellows will present the award to Ann Cooper, executive director of the CPJ, in Cambridge.