ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2022) – The Poynter Institute will present legendary reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism at its annual fundraising gala — the Bowtie Ball — which will return to an in-person celebration of journalism on Nov. 12, 2022, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street in Tampa, Florida.
Fifty years ago, the duo’s dogged reporting changed the course of American history and fortified journalism’s role in a free society. The story of Watergate was not only the highest expression of journalism’s calling as a “first draft of history,” but this body of work has stood for generations as a historical record that in America no one — not even the president — is above the law, and that journalists are essential to a working democracy.
As the nation continues to mark the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, Woodward and Bernstein’s recounting of the pressures they faced and the journalistic fundamentals they practiced to get the story has been a timely reminder of values that transcend today’s tensions in the media marketplace. Even as society debates the strengths and ills of social media, or witnesses journalists under attack, here is what’s undeniable: Woodward and Bernstein found records, knocked on doors, managed multiple sources, told the stories straight — without fear or favor — and in the process changed a nation and inspired thousands of people to become journalists.
“The work of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on that seismic story are the values and craft we preach and teach at the Poynter Institute,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. “The journalism around Watergate stands as a reminder that in a democracy, citizens have a right to know the actions of their leaders and that it takes independent reporting by journalists to shine that light. As we consider democracy and the stories of today, this basic right and the critical work of journalists are worth celebrating.’’
“So with great respect for their journalistic contributions during Watergate — and remarkably for half a century afterwards through today — Poynter honors the esteemed reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, with its most prestigious award of excellence, the 2022 Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.”
Each year, Poynter presents this award to an accomplished journalist whose career has made a significant impact on democracy and its institutions. Woodward and Bernstein will join an esteemed roster of Poynter Medal recipients including:
- Lesley Stahl, CBS News and “60 Minutes” correspondent
- Chris Wallace, broadcast journalist, best-selling author and CNN and formerly Fox News anchor
- Katie Couric, broadcast journalist, best-selling author and media entrepreneur
- Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC”
- Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour”
- Tom Brokaw, former anchor of “NBC Nightly News”
- Bob Schieffer, former CBS News anchor and host of “Face the Nation”
Poynter will present Woodward and Bernstein with the award at the Bowtie Ball on Nov. 12, 2022, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street. Guests will be entertained by live music and lively programming, delighted by cameo appearances, and immersed in a celebration of local news, the power of fact-based expression and The Washington Post reporters’ relentless investigation that changed the course of American democracy. The pair’s contributions will be elevated throughout the evening; Bernstein will attend the event in person and reflect upon his investigative reporting during an interview on stage with Brown.
The Poynter Institute was founded more than 45 years ago by Nelson Poynter, the then-owner and editor of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times. Poynter created a school to train professional journalists and elevate the craft. Upon his death, in an exceptional act of vision and philanthropy that ensured the independence of his beloved local paper, Poynter bequeathed ownership of the now-Tampa Bay Times to the school. His gift was intended to protect and preserve the news organization’s singular dedication to the community it serves and to advance the practice of journalism more broadly.
Today, Poynter empowers news organizations and journalists through transformative teaching that elevates crucial journalism skills including reporting, multimedia storytelling, leadership and ethical decision-making to better inform their communities and strengthen democracy. The institute still owns the local news organization, the Tampa Bay Times, while having grown into a nonprofit global leader in journalism education. Poynter trains tens of thousands of journalists, educators and students around the world in person and online each year. Clients include CBS, NBC, Univision, ESPN, NPR, Hearst and TEGNA newsrooms, and numerous local TV stations, community newspapers and digital news sites. Poynter operates three fact-checking enterprises: the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network, and social-first digital media literacy initiative MediaWise. In addition, Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter, a resource for journalists and citizens to navigate today’s complex media landscape. Learn more about the impact of Poynter’s work here.
Proceeds from the fundraising event support the work of the nonprofit Poynter Institute and its dedication to defend democracy, seek the truth and elevate journalism for those who create and consume it.
Tickets for the Bowtie Ball honoring Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are available now. To sponsor the event, please contact Deborah Read, chief development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute is a global nonprofit working to address society’s most pressing issues by teaching journalists and journalism, covering the media and the complexities facing the industry, convening and community building, improving the capacity and sustainability of news organizations and fostering trust and reliability of information. The Institute is a gold standard in journalistic excellence and dedicated to the preservation and advancement of press freedom in democracies worldwide. Through Poynter, journalists, newsrooms, businesses, big tech corporations and citizens convene to find solutions that promote trust and transparency in news and stoke meaningful public discourse. The world’s top journalists and emerging media leaders rely on the Institute to learn new skills, adopt best practices, better serve audiences, scale operations and improve the quality of the information ecosystem.
The Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), MediaWise and PolitiFact are all enterprises of the Poynter organization.
Support for Poynter upholds the integrity of the free press and the U.S. First Amendment and builds public confidence in journalism and media around the world — an essential for healthy democracies. Learn more at poynter.org.
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