Columbia j-school announces 2011 Alumni Award winners

Romenesko Misc.

They are war correspondent HRH Rym Ali; San Francisco Bay Guardian founder Bruce Brugmann; NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis; and Orlando Sentinel government/politics editor Robert Shaw.

Press release

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism Names
Winners of the 2011 Annual Alumni Award

New York, December 20, 2010 - Four
prominent graduates of the The winners are: HRH Rym Ali ’94, Bruce Brugmann ’58, Rehema Ellis ’77 and Robert Shaw ’66.Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism will receive the 2011 Alumni Award.

The awards will be presented on Friday, April 8, 2011, as a feature of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s Alumni Weekend (April 8-9). The ceremony will take place in Low Memorial Library on the Columbia campus.

The Alumni Awards are presented annually for a distinguished journalism career in any medium, an outstanding single journalistic accomplishment, a notable contribution to journalism education or an achievement in related fields. The awards, which represent recognition of excellence by professional peers, are highly prized by the Journalism School’s alumni, many of whom go on to become respected leaders in the field. The winners are selected by a panel of jurors composed of previous award winners, headed by Alexis Gelber ’80, chair of the Alumni Board.

More about the 2011 Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Award Winners:

HRH Rym Ali ’94

Princess Rym Ali, known as Rym Brahimi as a Journalism student and CNN war correspondent in Iraq, is launching the Jordan Media Institute in Amman this spring. The Institute was created to try and fill a gap in journalism education, not only in Jordan, but also in the region, by offering a high level, practical program in Arabic, with an emphasis on digital media training, all in one year. Its goal is to offer the best standards of journalistic practice with an emphasis on the traditional aspects of journalism such as writing and reporting, ethics and community issues. Prior to marrying His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Ali worked extensively for international broadcasters, including CNN, where she began as a producer in 1998 and later worked as a Baghdad correspondent from 2001 until 2004. Before joining the BBC, Ali developed her portfolio working for Dubai TV, Bloomberg TV, Radio Monte Carlo Moyen Orient and United Press International. She has reported from the region on the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the war in Kosovo and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. Ali has served as the executive commissioner of the Royal Film Commission in Jordan since July 2005.

Bruce Brugmann ’58

Since Bruce Brugmann and his wife, Jean Dibble, founded the San Francisco Bay Guardian more than 40 years ago, the feisty weekly with a slogan of “raising hell and printing the news” has never let up on championing the public interest and challenging the existing power structure in government, business, and the media itself. One of the very first alternative papers in the country, the Bay Guardian recently won its antitrust case against SF Weekly when the California State Supreme Court refused to review lower court rulings ordering the Weekly to pay $21 million in damages over predatory pricing. The outcome of the case could still be determined by the ongoing settlement negotiations. The Bay Guardian’s battles with the local electric utility are almost legend. Brugmann has championed a free and responsible press as a founder and longtime member of the California First amendment Coalition, and is an honored fellow of the International Press Institute and an active member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Press Association. He has demonstrated that with professional and personal resolve and courage, that there is still room, and a role, for the little guy.

Rehema Ellis ’77

Rehema Ellis is an Emmy Award-winning correspondent for NBC News, which she joined in 1994. With her trademark energy, authority and passion, she reports on all subjects with a special focus on education for the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today, and MSNBC. She is also a digital journalist, shooting, blogging, writing and tweeting for NBC on-line. Ellis was part of the NBC Emmy award-winning coverage of “The Miracle on the Hudson” (U.S. Airways Flight 1549) and the 2008 Presidential Election, and she reported from the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the historic inauguration of Barack Obama. Ellis has been an integral part of major stories including, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Michael of Jackson and the Haiti earthquake. Ellis traveled to Zaire to report on the mass killings that left an estimated one million people dead in Rwanda and, a few years later, she spent a month in Greece covering the summer Olympics.

Robert Shaw ’66

Bob Shaw has had a distinguished career at three Florida newspapers for the last four decades, with assignments in Miami, Washington, Tallahassee and Orlando. Since 2000, he has been with the Orlando Sentinel, where he is currently government and politics editor. He led the paper’s award-winning coverage of the Columbia space shuttle disaster and coverage of the 2000 presidential election dispute in Florida, along with major investigative pieces on shortcomings in the nation’s missile-defense program. An investigation of the Dale Earnhardt auto-facing fatality, controversy of its autopsy photos and a thorough probe of NASCAR’s track record of accident investigations and lack of comprehensive safety program to protect drivers son the Sentinel a Scripps First amendment Award and APME Best Sports Story of the Year.

In addition to the award-winning stories he produced as a reporter and those he supervised as an editor, Shaw has been a tireless advocate of broader public access to government records and meetings as a board member and president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation. Throughout his career, Shaw has specialized in journalism that holds government accountable, preserves the public’s right to know and protects the interests of taxpayers, consumers and especially those less fortunate.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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