Filipino journalist Maria Ressa received the Columbia Journalism School Award in New York during the institution’s commencement ceremonies for the class of 2019.
Rappler’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer received the award in New York during ceremonies livestreamed on social media on May 22, 2019.
The Columbia Journalism School’s faculty cited Maria Ressa “for the depth and quality of her work, as well as her courage and persistence in the field.”
The award Ressa received was first given out in 1958 and has since recognized illustrious journalists such as Walter Cronkite, Ira Glass, among others.
The school’s highest honor is given annually to journalists “for outstanding accomplishments and a singular journalistic performance in the public interest.”
In her keynote speech, Ressa highlighted the tasks of journalists to be as TIME says, “Guardians of Truth.”
The former CNN Bureau Chief and lead investigative journalist told the Class of 2019 what they must face after graduation – “The battle for Truth … this is at the heart of protecting our democracies.”
After recalling the many wars she covered and now finding herself in a battle for truth, the multi awarded investigative journalist said there is still hope.
“I find hope from Rapplers. This award belongs to them… The way they used data to fight back. The way our young reporters stand up to power and continue reporting. They are creating the future today, and they inspire me.
“I find hope from you sitting in this hall – the great Columbia class of 2019, a third of you from overseas, and 2/3 women – as you infuse your idealism into our industry. Into our mission.
“Live according to the values you learned here. Do not accept the world you see today. Our information ecosystem is broken. A virus has been unleashed in our global body politique, and it is slowly killing us.
“I wish you the courage to lead the way to finding a global solution – a vaccine that combines technology and journalism.
“You are coming of age at a time that matters. What you do matters. What you report, and how you fight for the Truth, matters.
Our future depends on you. Congratulations again, Class of 2019. Sleep well tonight. Dream of a better future. Then go and make it happen. Go!”
WATCH Maria Ressa’s inspiring keynote speech then SEND YOUR congratulations below to our Filipino journalist and press freedom champion!
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