NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute establishes Peter F. Collier Award for Ethics in Journalism

Judges include The New York Times’ Dean Baquet, Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan, Semafor’s Gina Chua, documentary filmmaker Lynn Novick and others

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New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has established the Peter F. Collier Award for Ethics in Journalism, which will celebrate acts of journalism that meet the highest ethical standards in the face of pressure or incentives to do otherwise. 

“The Collier Award is grounded in the belief that a greater focus on ethics — on rigorous, factual reporting, transparency, humility and fairness — can help journalists become more effective and more trustworthy, and therefore more valuable to their audiences and to the broader community,” said Stephen J. Adler, director of the Carter Journalism Institute’s Ethics and Journalism Initiative, which will administer the award. 

The Collier Ethics in Journalism Award, to be granted annually, will recognize achievement by student and local journalists as well as reporters who have had national or international impact.  

The award’s panel of judges is composed of journalism professionals drawn from across the news media landscape: Dean Baquet, executive editor of the local investigations fellowship at The New York Times; Sewell Chan, editor in chief of The Texas Tribune, Gina Chua, executive editor of Semafor; Lynette Clemetson, director of the Wallace House Center for Journalists at the University of Michigan; Nancy Gibbs, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University; Lynn Novick, a documentary filmmaker who works include “Baseball” (1994), “The War” (2007), and “The Vietnam War” (2017); Kerry Smith, vice president of ethics and standards at ABC News; Stephen D. Solomon, Marjorie Deane Professor of Journalism at the Carter Journalism Institute; and Paul Steiger, ProPublica’s founder emeritus. 

The Collier Ethics in Journalism Award categories are as follows: 

  • A $5,000 award or scholarship for ethical work by a high school, college or graduate student ($500 for second place, $250 for third place)
  • A $10,000 award for ethical work by a local journalist with regional significance ($1,000 for second place, $500 for third place)
  • A $15,000 award for ethical work by a professional journalist or team with national or international impact/significance ($2,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place)

Applicants will be asked to describe how they dealt ethically and effectively with at least three of the following issues they confronted in their work, as well as any challenges they faced:

  • Minimizing harm to sources, subjects or others in the community
  • Determining whether and how to identify sensitive sources
  • Balancing privacy considerations with the imperative to disclose information in the public interest
  • Providing a fair opportunity to respond and upholding the “no-surprises rule,” despite the risk of losing exclusivity or triggering a pre-publication attack on the story  
  • Ethically deploying data or artificial intelligence
  • Avoiding false equivalency when the factual bases for opposing views are unequal
  • Providing transparency to the news consumer about how you made the ethical choices that went into the reporting of the story

Nathan S. Collier, founder and chairman of the Collier Companies, is sponsoring the award in honor of his great grand uncle, Peter F. Collier, who emigrated from Ireland in 1866, became a book publisher, and founded the renowned magazine, Collier’s Weekly, in 1888. 

In addition to building and running the Gainesville, Florida, based Collier Companies, which develops, manages and owns multi-family housing, Collier has endowed a highly ranked real-estate master’s program at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. He is an adjunct professor at UF’s Levin College of Law, where he previously earned his law degree. Collier supports accountability journalism through membership on boards, including the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review, awards programs and endowments.

“Trust is the foundation of good journalism, both in the reader’s trust in accuracy and the source’s trust in discretion and fairness,” Collier said. “Trust in turn flows from strong, ethical standards consistently upheld. The goal of the Peter F. Collier Award for Ethics in Journalism is to maintain and uphold ethical standards in the journalistic profession and thereby help create a better world for all.”

The establishment of the Collier Award for Ethics in Journalism follows the Carter Journalism Institute’s 2023 launch of its ethics initiative to expand existing resources for students and to conduct research and provide thought leadership on emerging ethical issues.

For questions about the application process, please visit the Collier Award for Ethics in Journalism website or contact program manager Ryan Howzell at ryan.howzell@nyu.edu.

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