September 27, 2012

Colby to honor Watergate reporter Bob Woodward with Elijah Lovejoy journalism award

'All the President's Men' reporter famous for breaking Watergate story with Washington Post co-worker Carl Bernstein

Morning Sentinel Staff

WATERVILLE -- Bob Woodward, who with another Washington Post reporter investigated the 1972 Watergate break-in, will receive Colby College's Lovejoy Award.

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Watergate reporter and Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward is the 2012 receipent of Colby College's Lovejoy Award honoring courageous journalism.

Woodward, a journalist and author for four decades, will accept the award, as well as an honorary Colby doctorate, at a formal convocation in November, according to Colby spokesman Stephen Collins.

The award, named for Albion native Elijah Parish Lovejoy, is given annually to recognize someone who displays courage in journalism.

Lovejoy, Colby valedictorian in 1826, was an abolitionist newspaper publisher and was later killed in Alton, Ill., in 1837 for condemning slavery and defending his right to publish. President John Quincy Adams called Lovejoy America's first martyr to freedom of the press.

Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the other half of the reporting team, rose to prominence after the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

Woodward, now associate editor of the Washington Post, was hired by the paper as a reporter in 1971 and the next year began work with Bernstein on the Watergate story.

Their reporting led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and spawned numerous government investigations; eventually four dozen government officials were convicted of crimes.

Gene Roberts, 1989 Lovejoy Award recipient, called Woodward and Bernstein's work "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time."

Woodward has since written or co-written 17 nonfiction books, including "All the President's Men," in 1974, which was made into a movie in 1976 that starred Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein.

Twelve of Woodward's books have been number one bestsellers and all have been bestsellers.

His most recent book, "The Price of Politics," released Sept. 11, examines how the president and congressional leaders have dealt with the economy and the government's fiscal crisis. It is No. 2 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists.

"Bob Woodward's unparalleled contributions to American journalism have put him in a rare rank of those honored by the Lovejoy prize," said Ann Marie Lipinski, chairwoman of the selection committee and curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. "His work in uncovering Watergate 40 years ago is just the best known in a career devoted to investigating some of the nation's most complex people and institutions. War, the White House, Hollywood, the Supreme Court and more have been deconstructed by Woodward and better understood for his rare skill and talent."

Asked why Bernstein was not included with Woodward for the Lovejoy Award, Colby spokesman Collins said the selection committee's deliberations are private.

"The committee makes its choice and they selected Bob Woodward," Collins said Wednesday.

The 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, convocation at Lorimer Chapel on campus is open to the public and will include a speech by Woodward.

A related event scheduled for Nov. 11 at Colby is a panel discussion, "Hold the Presses: Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age." It will be at 4 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium, in the Diamond Building, and moderated by Steve Engelberg, managing editor of ProPublica and a member of the Lovejoy Award selection committee.

Other committee members are Rebecca Corbett, a 1974 Colby graduate and current deputy Washington bureau chief for the New York Times; Gregory Moore, editor of the Denver Post; Mike Pride, editor emeritus and columnist for the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor; David Shribman, vice president and executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and professor Dan Shea, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby.

Past Lovejoy Award winners include the late Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal, who received the award in 1973 at Colby; Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson of NPR; Alfredo Corchado, who reports from the U.S.-Mexico border for the Dallas Morning News; Jerry Mitchell, whose reporting brought Ku Klux Klansmen to justice for civil rights murders; Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal, whose award was given posthumously; and the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, who was also an author and historian. Colby has given the awards annually since 1952.

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