James Reynolds' Introduction

2010 Nieman Fellow James Reynolds, right, presents the 2009 Lyons Award to New York Times journalist Abdul Waheed Wafa from Afghanistan. Wafa accepted the award on behalf of the Afghan journalists.

November 17, 2009
Lippmann House
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

In just a few hours it will be dawn in Afghanistan.

Afghan journalists will begin their day’s work. They deliver the news every day from one of the most dangerous reporting environments in the world.

They face the threat of intimidation, kidnapping, and death. In their own country, in the last three years, a number of Afghan journalists have been killed. Many of them worked with the foreign media. They risked and lost their lives so that many of us in this room could learn about their country.

So, when this class had the chance to decide on a second recipient for this year’s Lyons award—it became clear that we should recognize a brave, neglected group of journalists—the reporters and media workers of Afghanistan. We’ve decided to direct the money that comes with this award to the Frontline Fixers Fund, which supports the families of Afghan journalists. This class has pledged to match the $1,000 dollar donation made by the Nieman Foundation.

Yesterday morning, a group of us in this room took part in a Skype conversation with our colleagues in Kabul. We wanted to know more about the dangers that they face every day.


I’m pleased to say that after this event, the journalists in Afghanistan contacted us and said that they would like to continue their dialogue with us over the year.

Would you please join me in welcoming New York Times journalist Abdul Waheed Wafa from Afghanistan to accept the Lyons award on behalf of his colleagues.