WASHINGTON – Corinne Reilly and Scott Wilson received Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards Monday for their reporting on national defense and the presidency. The son of the late President Gerald Ford and chairman of the foundation,Steven Ford,presented the awards at the National Press Club.
“This award is very humbling,” Reilly,a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot,said. The paper is in Norfolk,Va.
She received the award for national defense reporting for her series of articles “A Chance in Hell,” which documented the physical and emotional journeys of soldiers in a combat hospital in Kandahar,a province of Afghanistan. The five-part serious revealed the stark side of war with explicit photos of wounded soldiers and children.
Reilly also recently received the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for Human Interest Writing for the same series of articles.
Scott Wilson,White House correspondent for the Washington Post,received the foundation’s award for his coverage of the presidency. In one of his stories,he reported that any president’s second year in office is more important than the first.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award from such a great foundation,” Wilson said. “I hope it shows the commitment of the Washington Post to support in-depth issues that mean something to people.”
Chris Matthews,host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” was the guest speaker at the event. After his eulogy-like speech remembering the lives of Gerald Ford and Thomas “Tip” O’Neill,for whom Matthews once worked,Matthews responded to questions from the audience.
Ford and O’Neill overlapped as minority and majority leaders for four years in the 1970s. Matthews talked about how they were able to reach compromises.
He said he was worried about social media and its lack of fact checkers.
“I worry about social media because I love newspapers and I love editors,” Matthews said. “Social media – I want to know who the editors are. I do like journalists,I love straight reporters. I am fascinated by the ability,every day,of the A-1 reporters that write for the first page.”
Each year,the Gerald R. Ford Foundation awards $5,000 and a plaque to two journalists for their reporting in print journalism in the areas of national defense and the presidency.
Reach reporter Maulana Moore at [email protected] or 202-326-9871. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.