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James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism

This award is given to the individual or team of journalists working for a U.S.-based media outlet who best display 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.

In 2014, the name of the award was changed to honor Medill alumnus James Foley (MSJ08). Foley was captured while reporting in Syria in 2012 and killed by ISIS extremists in 2014.



  • Julie Turkewitz and Federico Rios of The New York Times were awarded the 2023 Medal for their exclusive coverage of migration through the Darién Gap, a 66-mile stretch of densely forested jungle across northern Colombia and southern Panama.


  • Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka and Vasilisa Stepanenko from the Associated Press were awarded the 2022 Medal for their exclusive coverage in Mariupol, Ukraine. Their five-part story, “Erasing Mariupol,” chronicles the attacks of Russia on innocent Ukrainian civilians during the early stages of the Russian-Ukraine war.


  • Ian Urbina and Pierre Kattar were honored for their coverage of the European Union’s shadow immigration system that sends migrants to Libyan detention centers before reaching European shores. Their report, “The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe,” was a collaboration between The New Yorker and The Outlaw Ocean Project to expose the arrangement between the European Union and the Libyan Coast Guard that brings migrants back to the Libyan coast and holds them indefinitely in detention centers. 


  • Isobel Yeung, Zach Caldwell, Mahmud Mousa, Jackie Jesko and Tarek Turkey, VICE News
    The VICE News Team was honored for coverage of the human rights crisis in Idlib, Syria’s last rebel-controlled province, during the country’s ongoing civil war. The prize money was donated by the VICE team to Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-USA, a nonprofit that was founded by healthcare professionals to provide lifesaving medical humanitarian relief and access to quality healthcare and mental health services to people most in need and communities affected by crises, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, or political affiliation. 


  • Azam Ahmed, The New York Times
    Azam Ahmed, New York Times bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, was honored for his investigation of gang murder across Latin America. 


  • Max Bearak, The Washington Post
    Max Bearak, Nairobi bureau chief for the Washington Post, was honored for his reporting from sub-Saharan Africa.


  • Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters
    Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists, were honored for their coverage in Myanmar. During their investigation, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are Burmese, were arrested by Myanmar police. After more than 500 days in jail, they were released in May 2019.


  • Hannah Dreier, Associated Press
    Hannah Dreier, former AP correspondent in Venezuela (now with ProPublica), was honored for her reporting in Venezuela.


  • Glenn Cook, James DeHaven, Eric Hartley, Jennifer Robison, John L. Smith, Howard Stutz and James G. Wright, Las Vegas Review-Journal
    These reporters for the Las Vegas Review-Journal were honored for their coverage of the newspaper’s sale to the family of billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson.


  • Kathy Gannon, Associated Press
    Kathy Gannon, special regional correspondent for the Associated Press, was honored for her reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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


  • 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. They 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.



  • 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 erupted in the Caribbean country.


  • 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.
  • 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 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.


  • 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.”


  • Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent, NBC News
    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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.