2012 Recipients of the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism Announced

The Nine Winners Include Investigative Reporters, Advertising and Magazine Executives, Visual Journalists and Media Executives

The Missouri Honor Medal
The Missouri Honor Medal

Columbia, Mo. (July 11, 2012) — The 2012 winners of the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism were announced today by the Missouri School of Journalism.

The award, considered one of journalism’s most prestigious, honors career-long outstanding service to journalism. Among the distinguished journalists, advertising and public relations practitioners, business leaders, institutions and media organizations that have received the medal are Tom Brokaw, Christiane Amanpour, Sir Winston Churchill, Gloria Steinem, Deborah Howell and Gordon Parks.

The awards will be given during an evening banquet on Monday, Oct. 15, on the campus of the University of Missouri. Those to be honored are:

  • Umar Cheema: investigative reporter for the Pakistani newspaper The News.
  • Jodi Cobb: international photographer and author.
  • Mona Eltahawy: columnist and international speaker on Arab and Muslim issues.
  • John Ferrugia: investigative journalist and news anchor at KMGH-TV in Denver.
  • Jeff Leen: assistant managing editor in charge of The Washington Post‘s Investigative Unit.
  • Adam Moss: editor-in-chief of New York magazine.
  • The New York Times Graphics Department: a group of visual journalists who explain, illustrate and conceptualize the news.
  • Fred Papert: international advertising executive and New York City community developer.
  • Ken Paulson: president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C.
Umar Cheema
Umar Cheema

Umar Cheema

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter for the Pakistani newspaper The News. He writes on corruption, politics, national security and unaccountable intelligence agencies, bold work that has resulted in his being abducted and abused. Cheema’s unwillingness to stay silent about the ill treatment he has suffered has drawn wide attention to the nationwide issue of anti-press violence in Pakistan.

Cheema’s troubles began on the freezing night of Dec. 4, 2004, when he suffered compound fractures after being hit and run over by a car. Anonymous callers threatened him with dire consequences if he continued writing with the same pace on critical issues.

On Sept. 4, 2010, Cheema was abducted, beaten and flogged by a group of unknown assailants in military fatigues, who also shaved his head, eyebrows and mustache, stripped him naked and photographed him in humiliating positions. Cheema reported that his attackers asked him if he was trying to discredit the government with his reporting.

Following the incident, The New York Times and the Committee to Protect Journalists both issued calls that the Pakistani government needed to identify Cheema’s attackers and bring them to justice.

For his brave journalism and willingness to publicly speak about the attack at risk of his own life, the CPJ awarded Cheema its 2011 International Press Freedom Award as an annual recognition of courageous journalism. On April 14, 2011, Cheema received Syracuse University’s 2011 Tully Center Free Speech Award. In 2008, he won a Daniel Pearl Fellowship, becoming the first Pearl fellow to work at The New York Times. Cheema earned a master’s degree in science in comparative politics (conflict studies) from the London School of Economics.

Jodi Cobb
Jodi Cobb

Jodi Cobb

Jodi Cobb, BJ ’68, MA ’71, has spent three decades as a staff photographer with National Geographic – one of only four women to have held that position in the magazine’s 120-year history. She is best known for lifting the curtain on worlds closed to outsiders, celebrating the best of the human spirit and spotlighting some of its worst abuses. Cobb has worked in more than 65 countries on a broad body of work that includes more than 40 articles, books and other projects that include global advertising campaigns.

She was one of the first photographers to travel across China after it was reopened to the West and to photograph the hidden lives of Saudi Arabian women. Her book “Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art” (Knopf, 1995) was the first to document the lives and rituals of Japan’s geishas. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Society of Media Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996.

In another first, Cobb gave the issue of people who are bought, sold and exploited for profit a human face in the National Geographic story “21st Century Slaves,” which got more positive responses than any story in its history until then.

Cobb’s photographs have been published and exhibited worldwide, and she has been consistently honored with Pictures of the Year International, World Press and the National Press Photographers Association awards. Cobb was the first woman to be named White House Photographer of the Year. She was named a “Nikon Legend” and was a U.S. Presidential Delegate to the Nagano Olympics.

In addition to her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism, Cobb received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues. Her opinion pieces have been published frequently in media across the world, including The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. Eltahawy is based in New York.

During the 18-day revolution that toppled Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, she appeared on most major news media outlets, leading the feminist website Jezebel to describe her as “The Woman Explaining Egypt to the West.”

In November 2011 Egyptian riot police beat her, breaking her left arm and right hand, and sexually assaulted her. She was detained for 12 hours by the Interior Ministry and Military Intelligence.

Newsweek magazine named Eltahawy one of its “150 Fearless Women of 2012”; Time magazine featured her along with other activists from around the world as its “People of the Year”; and Arabian Business magazine named her one of the “100 Most Powerful Arab Women.”

Her public speaking has taken her around the world, including to the first TEDWomen where she spoke about the virtues of confusion in breaking stereotypes of Muslim women.

Other recent recognitions include the Anna Lindh Foundation‘s Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver‘s Anvil of Freedom Award, the European Union‘s Samir Kassir Prize for Freedom of the Press for her opinion writing, Search for Common Ground‘s Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle Eastern Journalism and the American Society for Muslim Advancement‘s Muslim Leader of Tomorrow.

Eltahawy is a lecturer and researcher on the growing importance of social media in the Arab world. She calls herself a proud liberal Muslim.

Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, Eltahawy was a news reporter in the Middle East for many years, including almost six years as a Reuters correspondent.

John Ferrugia
John Ferrugia

John Ferrugia

John Ferrugia, BJ ’75, is Denver’s most honored and respected investigative reporter. His reports for KMGH-TV have prompted changes in public policy, government and public safety in Colorado. They have also resulted in new laws.

His 2003 investigation into the sexual assaults of female cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy prompted Congressional hearings, a Pentagon investigation resulting in a complete change in leadership at one of the world’s most prestigious military institutions, and new initiatives for protecting and caring for sexual assault victims in the military worldwide.

Ferrugia earned a 2011 National Edward R. Murrow Award for his continuing investigation into deaths at the Pueblo Colorado State Mental Institute, prompting a grand jury investigation that held the hospital staff responsible for the suffocation of a patient.

Ferrugia has been honored with television journalism’s most prestigious awards including the DuPont-Columbia Award, three George Foster Peabody Awards, a national Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award, and has been inducted into the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences-Heartland Chapter “Silver Circle” for his career contribution to broadcasting.

Ferrugia has also received awards from the Colorado Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Broadcasters Association and numerous awards from the Associated Press.

His investigative reporting has also been honored with the National Headliner Award, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Award, and regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

Earlier in his career Ferrugia served as a White House correspondent for CBS News and was a principle anchor of a network news magazine program. He has since appeared as an occasional contributing correspondent on ABC News, bringing his investigative reports to a national audience. Ferrugia has secured numerous exclusive interviews, including one with Pope John Paul II prior to the Pontiff’s trip to the U.S. for World Youth Day in 1993.

Jeff Leen
Jeff Leen

Jeff Leen

Jeff Leen, MA ’82, is the assistant managing editor in charge of The Washington Post’s Investigative Unit, where he was part of a four-reporter team whose examination of police shootings in Washington, D.C., won the 1999 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service, the paper’s first since Watergate.

He joined The Post as an investigative reporter in the unit in 1997. He became investigations editor in 1999 and assistant managing editor in 2003.

Prior to then, Leen worked for 10 years on the investigative team for The Miami Herald, where he co-authored a 10-part series on the Medellin Cartel that was later turned into a book, Kings of Cocaine: An Astonishing True Story of Murder, Money and International Corruption (Simon & Schuster, 1989). He joined The Herald as a reporter in 1982, working in the Naples, Delray Beach and West Palm Beach bureaus before becoming a general assignment reporter covering the Miami drug trade in 1985.

As a reporter or an editor, Leen has worked on investigations that have been honored with seven Pulitzer Prizes: Hurricane Andrew’s impact on South Florida (Gold Medal, 1993), D.C. police shootings (Gold Medal, 1999), abuse in D.C. group homes (Gold Medal, 2000), deaths among children monitored by D.C. social services (Investigative Reporting, 2002), the Sept. 11 plot (National Reporting, 2002), the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal (Investigative Reporting, 2006) and the Dick Cheney vice presidency (National Reporting, 2008). Four other investigations have been Pulitzer finalists.

His other national reporting awards include: a Selden Ring Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, a medal and a certificate from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and two Silver Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association.

He is also the author of The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds and the Making of an American Legend (Atlantic Monthly, 2009). Leen holds a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis and his Master of Arts degree in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism.

Adam Moss
Adam Moss

Adam Moss

Adam Moss was named editor-in-chief of New York magazine in March 2004. During his tenure the magazine has been widely recognized for editorial excellence, and he oversaw an ambitious digital expansion in his role as editor-in-chief of parent company New York Media.

In his first year at New York, Moss completed an extensive renovation of the now 44-year-old weekly magazine emphasizing an enhanced commitment to covering the city’s cultural happenings and introducing the “Strategist” section, a fun and indispensable urban sourcebook. Moss has launched new columns, ushered in a new generation of writers and photographers, and increased the magazine’s political and business coverage.

In 2006 he oversaw a year-long relaunch of the magazine’s website, nymag.com, as a redesigned, up-to-the minute news and information site. Moss directed the development of Vulture into a leading national entertainment website, the expansion of nymag.com’s Grub Street food and restaurant blog to five additional cities, and the current expansion of the fashion and lifestyle site, The Cut. Monthly unique users at the sites have soared, to more than 10 million per month.

During Moss’s tenure, New York and nymag.com have won 22 National Magazine Awards, including four for General Excellence in print and three for General Excellence online, as well as awards for its writing, Strategist section and design. In 2009, Advertising Age named nymag.com Magazine Website of the Year, and in both 2007 and 2001 named Moss Editor of the Year.

Prior to joining New York, Moss served as assistant managing editor for features at The New York Times, and was previously editor of that paper’s magazine. Under Moss’s leadership, The New York Times Magazine received many awards for journalism, photography and design, including two nominations for the Pulitzer prize.

Moss also worked at Esquire in a variety of positions, as well as at Rolling Stone.

Moss graduated from Oberlin College earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1979.

New York Times Graphics Department
New York Times Graphics Department

The New York Times Graphic Department

The New York Times graphics department is a team of 25 visual journalists who explain, illustrate and contextualize the news. The staff members of this diverse group specialize in design, architecture, cartography, 3D-modeling, statistics and journalism. Together, they have created some of the best interactive graphics and maps anywhere on the Web.

Notable examples include a 3D-video explaining how Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera dominates hitters, before-and-after-satellite maps of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, an interactive budget puzzle and a customizable electoral map.

The department has won many national and international awards, including the 2009 National Design Award, given by Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum in New York.

Fred Papert
Fred Papert

Fred Papert

The multifaceted career of Fred Papert, BJ ’46, began as a deservedly underpaid clothing salesman at Woolf Brothers in Columbia and as an unpaid writer of newspaper ads that never ran. Papert then moved to real advertising jobs at more than a dozen New York agencies. In 1960 he and two exceptionally talented colleagues from Doyle Dane Bernbach formed Papert Koenig Lois.

Ten years of speedy growth later, PKL became the second agency to ever go public, and the move changed the financial nature of the agency business forever. PKL’s clients included Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, Xerox, Seagram’s and National Airlines as well as a list of political candidates including Senator Jack Javits and Robert F. Kennedy. The original PKL investors recouped their investments by 1970 and decided to close the company.

By then, the business of planning, development and preservation had become Papert’s first love. Today PKL has been replaced by the nonprofit 42nd Street Development Corporation, which rescued the far west end of New York’s most famous street from neglect and misuse, and the 42nd Street Fund, which helps fund the new nonprofit land use and/or art projects. Papert serves as president of both.

Among the Corporation’s accomplishments are Theatre Row, a complex of off-Broadway theaters and restaurants between 9th and 10th Avenues, and Papert’s work with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to restore the historic Grand Central Station.

The Fund has made front-end grants and loans to nonprofit organizations that wish to create real estate projects with preservation, planning and art components.

Papert is active on the boards of Friends of the Upper East Side historic districts, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, the Henry Street Settlement, the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Municipal Art Society. Papert credits the help he has given to these good causes to his experience in the advertising business.

Ken Paulson, BJ '75
Ken Paulson, BJ ’75

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson, BJ ’75, is president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C. Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues.

Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states. He launched online newspapers in both Florida and New York in 1993. Paulson was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982. He is past-president of the American Society of News Editors, has served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee and was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely.”

Paulson has worked to promote public understanding of the First Amendment through education, engagement and entertainment. He is the founder of “1 for All,” an unprecedented national campaign on behalf of the First Amendment, and the author of Freedom Sings, a touring stage show that tells the history of free speech through music. Paulson has served as a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, which honored him with the API Lifetime Service Award.

In 2007, Paulson was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute, and has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the Missouri School of Journalism. In 2008, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from American University.

Updated: August 3, 2020

Related Stories

Expand All Collapse All