The 6th Annual Izzy Awards Brings “A New Twist”

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The Park Center for Independent Media has chosen two journalists, Nick Turse and John Carlos Frey, to receive the 6th annual Izzy Awards for independent journalism, but this year there is a new addition — an independent media hall of fame.

Members of the newly established I.F. Stone Hall of Fame, are required to have previously won the Izzy award and continue to create impactful journalism. The award will be given out occasionally to those deserving the honor after multiple years of creating outstanding independent media.

The first inductees of the I.F. Stone Hall of Fame are Glenn Greenwald, who helped expose the bulk collection of data by the NSA on Americans 10 months ago, and Jeremy Scahill, for his work examining the impact United States military drones were having on innocent civilians who were falsely accused of being terror suspects.

Here is the Director of the Park Center for Independent Media speaking about this years awards:

The 6th Annual Izzy Award Winners


Nick Turse and John Carlos Frey

Jeff Cohen, Director of the Park Center for Independent Media, said “the Izzy award is given annually for outstanding achievement in independent media.”

Nick Turse made an impact by publishing articles exposing the civilian casualties of U.S. war from Afghanistan all the way back to the Vietnam war. He exposed wrongdoing by reading through government archives (a practice that I.F. Stone is known for doing).

“As a national security reporter I am lucky that the Pentagon generates so much material,” Turse said. ” I found over the years that if you have the time and the patience to dig, lead, or to pull various bits from this document or that document, you can paint a vivid picture of time.”

From an Arizona town within miles of the United States-Mexico border, John Carlos Frey embeds himself into almost every relevant story on the border that uncovers wrong-doing. His piece Shots Across The Border documents the heartbreaking story of a family on the Mexico side of the border celebrating a family member’s birthday party as their father is shot dead by a United States Border Patrol agent.

According to an official report, the agent “acted in response to people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border.”

There are other documents presented by Frey that uncover five other cases of Border Patrol agents shooting into the Mexico side of the border.

Before becoming an investigative journalist, Turse studied at Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences. Turse said he stumbled into journalism.

In 2001, while researching the National Archives for medical history during Vietnam, he found documents exposing Vietnam war crimes and decided to create his dissertation on the topic.

 

“I think the role that journalists play in independent media is to amplify voices that you don’t normally hear and dig into stories that you do not normally see,” said Turse.

The documents he found, uncovered for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded in Vietnam.

By crossing the border an estimated 100 times a year, Frey has immersed himself into the culture of the border, giving him a connection with the local civilians. Frey explains that he is never without a story.

In 2010, this connection gave Frey an opportunity to release footage recorded by a civilian’s cell-phone of a Mexican immigrant named Anastasio Hernández-Rojas being brutally beaten to death by Border Patrol agents after attempting to enter the United States. The agents said the reason they used lethal force was because Hernández-Rojas was resisting arrest, but the video revealed that to be false. Rojas fell out of consciousness and agents continued the beating.

By instilling himself into the lives of Mexican immigrants, Frey has given a voice to the voiceless. Giving them power to obtain justice when members of their community are needlessly slaughtered or have their rights violated.

Turse is currently the managing editor for the blog Tom Dispatch, where he writes about national security.

Frey is currently a freelance writer, whose work has been featured with The LA Times, Salon, and the Huffington Post.

Both Turse and Frey are fellows of The Investigative Fund, a program by created the Nation Institute, that seeks to deliver funding to investigative reporters in financial need in order to deliver a story.

The I.F. Stone Hall of Fame


Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill

In June 2013, Americans received information that a program of their government’s national intelligence department had the ability to access millions of Americans data with just an e-mail address. Glenn Greenwald traveled to Hong Kong to meet with former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, to receive millions of confidential intelligence documents that showed the NSA invaded the lives of millions of Americans.

Greenwald, along with a very select amount of journalists and editors has access to these documents. Since the leak of the first documents in June, these files have been selectively released to the public in order to reduce harm to the individuals involved. Greenwald explains the process of deciding which documents to leak here.

In Scahill’s book Dirty Wars and the article that preceded its release, the United States government has programs in place that are killing innocent civilians with drones.

Among the innocent was Anwar al-Awlaki, a preacher of the islamic religion and also an American citizen, was targeted and killed by a U.S. drone strike along with two members of his family, including his 16 year old son. Al-Awlaki gained a large following that stretched across the world and suddenly became a suspect of terrorist acts. Though never connected to any terrorist group or act, al-Awlaki was placed on an authorized “kill list” by United States President Barack Obama.

Greenwald and Scahill are founding editors of The Intercept, a publication created by First Look Media, that has a two-fold mission: one short term, and one long term. In the short term, the publication will deliver detailed reporting on the NSA and the documents received by Greenwald in Hong Kong. While the long term mission is to produce adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues while remaining independent of advertising.

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