Not since the Civil War, have American journalists had to report steadily from the frontline here at home for an extended period of time. And, their reporting today has meant more to American families and communities around the country than ever before. Reporting facts and sharing information that Americans can use to navigate the treacherous waters surrounding the coronavirus pandemic is critical to every American household and business.
Reporters have had to face unprecedented challenges, including shutdowns and quarantines, to adapt to reporting during the pandemic. This year, the Washington Women in Journalism Awards, hosted jointly by Washingtonian and Story Partners, honors an incredibly talented group of women journalists who on a daily basis have demonstrated reporting at its best during some of the toughest times we have faced as a nation.
Despite challenges from the pandemic, this year’s honorees have become pioneers of journalism for the COVID-era.
While the full devastation of the pandemic is yet to be seen, it’s clear that the media industry, like many other industries, has been negatively impacted. Newsrooms have been cut short. Since the start of the pandemic, an estimated 36,000 employees of news organizations have been laid off, furloughed or had their pay reduced. Additionally, dozens of local newsrooms have been forced to close completely due to financial hardships.
The coronavirus pandemic is a timely reminder of the important role that journalists have in our society and the need to support a robust and diverse media industry. Journalism is invaluable to the health and welfare our society and our democracy. We are delighted you are joining us to honor these dedicated women.
–Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman of Story Partners and co-host of the Washington Women in Journalism Awards