For Immediate Release
Independent Journalists Naomi Klein and David Sirota Share Annual Izzy Award
ITHACA, New York - Author Naomi Klein and investigative reporter David Sirota are sharing the seventh annual Izzy Award presented by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in independent media and journalism.
The Izzy Award is named in memory of the late I.F. “Izzy” Stone, the dissident journalist who launched I.F. Stone’s Weekly in 1953 and challenged McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice and government deceit.
In 2014, Naomi Klein published her landmark book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” – as well as powerful columns in The Nation and The Guardian on topics from climate change to racism to torture. Her work has generated global discussion and debate, with a New York Times reviewer praising her book as “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since ‘Silent Spring.’” Klein is also the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.”
Of her work last year, the Izzy Award judges commented: “Few journalists today take on the big issues as comprehensively and fearlessly as Naomi Klein. She combines rigorous reporting, analysis, history and global scope into a package that not only identifies problems, but also illuminates successful activism and solutions. That goes for her groundbreaking book on climate change and for columns that brilliantly connect the dots – such as the intersection of climate justice and racial justice.”
Maverick investigative journalist David Sirota published dozens of exposés in 2014 on corruption in our country’s $3 trillion pension system. These abuses hurt taxpayers and government employees while rewarding Wall Street firms that fatten politicians’ campaign coffers. His dogged reporting on this rarely examined topic – first for PandoDaily and later for International Business Times– shed a critical spotlight on powerful officials of both major parties (from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie). The result: mainstream media attention, official investigations, passage of legislation and changes in government practices.
In one exposé headlined “The Wolf of Sesame Street,” Sirota revealed that New York’s public TV station accepted a $3.5 million donation from a billionaire anti-pension activist to fund coverage of the pension issue. The station was forced to return the money; PBS’s ombudsman wrote of “ethical compromises in funding arrangements” that “nobody really knew until Sirota wrote about it.”
The Izzy Award judges stated: “With his torrential coverage of the pension story, David Sirota shows a remarkable ability to make financial issues clear – clear enough to prompt action by officials and news outlets from coast to coast.”
Throughout the award’s seven-year history, the judges have been PCIM director Jeff Cohen; Linda Jue, executive director and editor of the San Francisco-based G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism; and University of Illinois communications professor and author Robert W. McChesney.
The award ceremony will occur on the Ithaca College campus in April, with details to be announced shortly.
“Naomi Klein and David Sirota are the journalistic heirs of I.F. Stone, taking on the most powerful forces in society – from Wall Street to Big Oil & Gas – and giving voice to the victims of predatory capitalism,” said Cohen. “There were many other strong candidates for this award, making it a stellar year for reporters who operate outside conglomerated media and cover issues such as government/corporate corruption, the environment, immigration and police misconduct.”
Previous winners of the Izzy Award are investigative journalist/filmmaker John Carlos Frey; journalist/historian Nick Turse; the nonprofit outlet Mother Jones; journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous; the Center for Media and Democracy for “ALEC Exposed”; author/columnist Robert Scheer; New York City’s in-depth outlet City Limits; investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill; blogger/author Glenn Greenwald; and Democracy Now! host/executive producer Amy Goodman.
Lastyear, Greenwald and Scahill were the first inductees into the new I.F. Stone Hall of Fame.
Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, the Park Center for Independent Media was launched in 2008 as a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems.
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The Park Center for Independent Media, launched in 2008, is a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems and news organizations. Throughout history, technological and social upheaval have given rise to independent media voices. Today, independent media are growing amid crisis and conglomeration in mainstream journalism, and the rise of the Internet and new forms of media production and distribution.
The Center's mission is to engage media producers and students in conversation about career paths in independent media, and financially viable ways to disseminate news and information. The center examines the impact of independent media institutions on journalism, democracy, and a participatory culture. Jeff Cohen is the founding director of PCIM. In spring 2010 Maura Stephens joined PCIM as associate director.