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Yang Jisheng, winner of the 2016 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism Adam Dean/Panos

Awards & Conferences

Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism

2016 Winner

Debra Adams Simmons, Eva Song, Louisa Lim, Stacy Mosher, Ann Marie Lipinski and Hamish Macdonald at the 2016 Lyons Award ceremony

Debra Adams Simmons, Eva Song, Louisa Lim, Stacy Mosher, Ann Marie Lipinski and Hamish Macdonald at the 2016 Lyons Award ceremony

In recognition of his ambitious and fearless reporting, Nieman Fellows in the class of 2016 at Harvard selected Chinese journalist and author Yang Jisheng for the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.

Yang’s groundbreaking book Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962 documents in forensic detail the true scale of one of the greatest human catastrophes of the 20th century. It is a grim and sobering account of the Great Leap Forward policy implemented under Mao Zedong, which led to the death of some 36 million Chinese, primarily by starvation but also torture and murder. Banned in China, Tombstone has won numerous honors.

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About the Award

Nieman Fellows in the class of 1964 established the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism in May 1964 to honor the Nieman curator who retired that year. The award recognizes displays of conscience and integrity by individuals, groups or institutions in communications.

Each class of Nieman Fellows decides whether to present the award during their Nieman year.

Lyons, the second curator of the Nieman Foundation, had a distinguished career as an editor and reporter before he came to Harvard to join the first class of Nieman Fellows in the fall of 1938. He served as curator of the foundation from 1939 until 1964, expanding the fellowship in a number of significant ways including opening the program to women, people of color and international journalists.

The Nieman class of 1964 selected Vietnam correspondents as the first recipient of the Lyons Award. The class of 1965 gave the award posthumously to broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, and the class of 1966 honored Wilson Minor of The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

No awards were made again until 1981, when the program was reinstituted by Curator James C. Thomson Jr. and given posthumously to Joe Alex Morris Jr. of the Los Angeles Times, who was killed while covering the Iranian Revolution.

A plaque that hangs in Walter Lippmann House, home of the Nieman Foundation, records the name of all winners. The award carried a $1,000 honorarium.

Winners

Year Recipient
Spring 2016
Yang Jisheng, Chinese author
For his work that speaks to the effort of every journalist globally who faces enormous obstacles in reporting.
March 2015
Hasan Cemal, Turkish journalist
In recognition of a long career dedicated to championing freedom of the press in Turkey and as a representative of all Turkish journalists working today under increasingly difficult conditions.
February 2014
Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly
For tenacious investigations into wrongful convictions, which exposed deep flaws in the criminal justice system
February 2013
Marcela Turati, Proceso magazine
For her coverage of the drug war and her role in protecting and training members of the media
November 2011
Mohammad Nabbous, killed in Libya 2011
For all those like him who spread the news of the “Arab Spring” uprisings
November 2010
Mohamed Olad Hassan, British Broadcasting Corporation, The Associated Press
For courageous reporting and an enduring commitment to the people of Somalia
November 2009
Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sri Lankan editor
For daring to stand up, at the cost of his life, for freedom of the press and human rights
For their bravery in delivering the news from one of the most dangerous reporting environments in the world
May 2009
Fatima Tlisova, independent journalist
For bearing witness to the hidden truths of a violent place
2008
Chauncey Bailey, Oakland Post
For his fearless investigative reporting and tireless advocacy for the black community
William Worthy, Baltimore Afro-American
For daring to blaze a path in coverage of global news
2007
Hu Shuli, Caijing magazine
For determined reporting on stories of dire importance to the world
2006
Atwar Bahjat, Al Arabiya-TV
Posthumous award for bravery in describing life in her native Iraq
2005
Shahla Sherkat, founding publisher, Zanan magazine
For covering politics and domestic abuse of Iranian women
2004
Zhanna Litvina, Belarus founder, Association of Journalists
For keeping Belarus’s journalists sane and safe
2003
Mark Chavunduka, founding editor, The Zimbabwe Standard
For his struggle for independence that rallied journalists in Zimbabwe
2002
For its commitment to aid journalists in peril
1998 – 2001
No winners
1997
Goenawan Mohamad, founding editor, Tempo magazine, Indonesia
For courage in publishing news despite government repression
1996
Raymond T. Bonner, The New York Times
For fearless, independent foreign reporting
1995
Olatunji Dare, editorial chair, Guardian Newspapers, Nigeria
For resigning rather than bow to government terms of self-censorship
1994
Abdelhamid Benzine, editor, Alger Republicain, Algeria
For his struggle for a free press despite being forced into exile
1993
Journalists of Oslobodjenje, (Liberation) in Sarajevo
For keeping their newspaper alive despite Serbian attacks
1992
Jean Mario Paul, Radio Antilles Internationale, Haiti
For reporting on corruption despite government intimidation
1991
For efforts to gain national democratic freedoms while facing threats to life
1990
For reporting on Colombian drug wars despite threats and murders of colleagues
1989
Helena Luczywo, Polish underground journalist
For reporting objectively, despite dangers facing a clandestine paper
1988
Monica Gonzalez, Chilean journalist
For courageous reporting despite Pinochet’s attempts to silence her
1987
Zwelakhe Sisulu, South African editor
For giving black South Africans a voice during Apartheid
1986
Violeta Chamorro, La Prensa
For her efforts to keep a free press alive in Nicaragua
1985
Allister Sparks, London Observer, The Washington Post
For courageous and meritorious reporting from South Africa
1984
Maria Olivia Monckeberg, Analisis Magazine
For coverage of Chile despite government attack and arrest
1983
Tom Renner, Newsday
For documenting organized crime’s reach into the lives of Americans
1982
Joseph Thloloe, South African journalist
For refusing to compromise ideals despite a repressive regime
1981
Joe Alex Morris Jr., Los Angeles Times, killed in Iran, 1979
For his fairness and untiring quest for truth
1967 – 1980
No winners
1966
Wilson F. Minor, The Times-Picayune
For investigative reporting that opened doors of a closed society
Ralph Nader
For Unsafe At Any Speed, an investigation of auto safety of the highest order
1965
Edward R. Murrow, CBS News
For his courage in confronting Senator McCarthy
1964
Vietnam Reporters: Neil Sheehan, UPI; Malcolm Browne, AP; David Halberstam, The New York Times
For reporting the truth