WATERVILLE – Adam Clay Thompson, an investigative reporter and “Frontline” correspondent, will receive Colby College’s Lovejoy Award next month in recognition of his work in journalism.
Thompson is a reporter for ProPublica, a nonprofit corporation and online news source that specializes in investigative reporting in the public interest and often works with other news organizations to distribute its stories.
“Frontline” is a public affairs program of the Public Broadcasting Service.
The Lovejoy Award, given annually since 1952, honors a member of the news media who has contributed to the nation’s journalistic achievements. It is named after Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a Colby graduate, Albion native and journalist who was murdered by a pro-slavery mob during an attack on his warehouse full of press and abolitionist materials in 1837. Colby released details of this year’s award Tuesday.
The award is given based on three qualifications — integrity, craftsmanship and character — all things that Thompson exhibits, said Stephen Collins, spokesman for Colby College and secretary of the Lovejoy Selection Committee.
“He’s had a remarkable impact at a fairly early stage in his career. A number of committee members have also seen him present before and he has a wonderful rapport with students, which was taken into consideration,” Collins said.
He said Thompson’s reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which led to the uncovering of a series of shootings in which New Orleans police officers were implicated, was just one example of how Thompson has shown courage in his reporting.
Thompson also was chosen because of his work in online and television journalism, which helps to illustrate the breakdown in print versus electronic media, Collins said
Thompson will be honored and give a speech during a convocation at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in Lorimer Chapel on campus.
Also scheduled for earlier in the day is a panel discussion called “From JFK to the Marathon Bombing: 50 Years of Crisis Reporting,” which is being held to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The discussion will explore the changes in media coverage of breaking news since then, Collins said. It will be held at 4 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium, in the Diamond Building, and will include journalists from around the country.
Last year’s recipient of the Lovejoy Award was Bob Woodward, who with fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein investigated the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in Washington, D.C., that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Other Lovejoy recipients have included foreign correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, of NPR, in 2011; Alfredo Corchado, in 2010, for coverage of the U.S.-Mexico border and drug violence; Daniel Pearl, of The Wall Street Journal, honored posthumously in 2002; and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, in 1997.
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