James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism

The award is given to the individual or team of journalists, working for a U.S.-based media outlet, who best displayed moral, ethical or physical courage in the pursuit of a story or series of stories. The contest is open to journalists from newspapers, television stations, online news operations, magazines or radio stations. The story subjects may be local, national or international in scope.

Contest period: Story or stories must be published within 2015 calendar year. Winner receives a $5,000 prize and a medal bearing the likeness of Joseph Medill, who spent more than 40 years during the mid-19th century as editor, publisher and owner of the Chicago Tribune. The award is shared for a team entry. 

Entry fee: $40 (Northwestern's Federal Tax ID Number is 36-2167817). Please make check payable to "Northwestern University." The fee will ensure the continuation of the award.

Entries become the property of Medill and will not be returned.

Deadline: February 28, 2016

Entries: Print entries should be submitted in 8.5x11 format for easy handling by the judges. Include four copies of all material. Television entries should submit four DVDs. Radio entries should submit four CDs. Online entries should provide a URL. Please include a brief description of how the entry displays courage, a biography of the nominee, as well as who to contact (and contact information) in case the entry is selected. 

Send entries to: 
Belinda Clarke
Medill - Northwestern University 
1845 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-2101
Phone: 847-491-3636
E-mail: Belinda Clarke

2014: Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Special Regional Correspondent, for her 2014 reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2014, the name of the award was changed to honor Medill alumni James Foley (MSJ08). While working as a freelance journalist in the Middle East,  Foley was captured in Syria in 2012 while working as a freelance journalist and, two years later, was murdered by militants. Foley’s tireless work to report on difficult stories in a dangerous region “endures for us as a beacon reminding us of the risks implicit in shedding light where inhumanity can take hold,” said Medill Dean Brad Hamm.

2013: Special Recipient, James Foley. 

2013: Matthieu Aikins, for “The A-Team Killings,” published in the Nov. 6, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone

Past winners: 

2012: C.J. Chivers, The New York Times, and Ben Hubbard, Associated Press

C.J. Chivers and Ben Hubbard, reporting for different news organizations, reported from Syria under dangerous and life-threatening circumstances.

2011: David Jackson and Gary Marx, Chicago Tribune

David Jackson and Gary Marx, both veteran investigative reporters at the Chicago Tribune, were recognized for their in-depth series, “Across the Border, Beyond the Law: Flaws in the justice system help fugitives cross America’s borders and avoid capture.” Chivers and Hubbard both went in and out of Syria multiple times in 2012. They managed to gain the trust of rebel groups and report amidst bombs, bullets and the constant threat of capture.

2010: Jonathan Katz, reporter, Associated Press

Jonathan Katz was recognized for his in-depth coverage of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. Katz was the only foreign correspondent working in Haiti when the most powerful earthquake in 200 years hit the Caribbean country.

2009: David Rohde, reporter, The New York Times

David Rohde received the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism on April 5, 2010 at The New York Times for his 2009 series "Held by the Taliban." His five-part series details the seven months he spent in captivity in Pakistan.

2008: Roxana Saberi, journalist

Roxana Saberi (MSJ99), the Iranian/American journalist who was released on May 11 from Evin Prison in Tehran, received the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism on June 20 at the Medill convocation. In 2009, the Iranian government convicted Saberi of espionage, and sentenced her to eight years in prison. Three weeks later, she was released after an appeals court suspended her sentence to two years and let her go.

2008: Joanna Connors, reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

Plain Dealer newspaper reporter Joanna Connors was named the 2008 winner of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for her series “Beyond Rape: A Survivor's Journey.” Connors, a 26-year veteran of The Plain Dealer, decided to recount the story of her 1984 attack and rape to take control of a traumatic event that, despite her efforts to bury it, “was still powerful inside me.”

2007: Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was named the 2007 winner of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for “War Zone Diary,” a documentary including video footage he himself recorded as a personal diary on a mini-DV camera about life in war-torn Iraq.

2006: Carlotta Gall, reporter, New York Times

The New York Times’ Carlotta Gall received the 2006 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. Gall was assaulted by Pakistani intelligence agents who broke into her hotel room and confiscated her notes, cell phone and computer. 

2005: The Times-Picayune

A team of reporters from The Times-Picayune in New Orleans was named the 2005 winner of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. The team was chosen for outstanding reporting on Hurricane Katrina, the devastating storm that demolished the city of New Orleans. 

See the coverage here.

2004: Emily Wax, Washington Post Nairobi Bureau Chief

Washington Post reporter Emily Wax was named the 2004 winner of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for outstanding reporting on the systematic violence threatening millions of people in the Darfur region of Sudan. Her pieces include: "5 Truths About Darfur;" "For a Small Girl in Darfur, A Year of Fear and Flight;" "Sudanese Rape Victims Find Justice Blind to Plight;" and "Sudanese Troops Attack and Destroy Camp in Darfur."

2003: Matthew McAllester and Moises Saman, Newsday

Newsday reporter Matthew McAllester and photographer Moises Saman were chosen as recipients for the first Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for "Eight Days in an Iraqi Prison." In the piece, McAllester documents his and Saman's dramatic tale of imprisonment in spring 2003 by Iraqi officials at Abu Ghraib, a prison known as a site of horrific torture and death.