Nominate a Hero
The Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism, established in 1999 by Seattle broadcasting legend Ancil Payne, celebrates the tough decisions made in the newsroom and in the field—decisions that make a difference in the community but are often invisible to the public. The $10,000 annual prize rewards media organizations and journalists who report with integrity despite personal, political, or economic pressure.
Know a U.S.-based journalist who has exhibited courageous reporting or a news organization that has prioritized ethical decision-making? Nominate them, yourself, or your team for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. Fill out our easy-to-use nomination form by February 15.
Tough Calls, Celebrated
The Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism honors media organizations and journalists who report with integrity and character in the face of personal, political, or economic pressure.
2018 Winners: Jim Brunner and Lewis Kamb for Seattle Mayor Exposé
When Seattle’s mayor faced accusations of sexual assault, Seattle Times journalists Jim Brunner and Lewis Kamb had to decide whether—and how—to break a story that would shake their city to its core. Despite intense pressure from politicians and angry readers, they continued their investigation, meticulously vetting sources and publishing follow-up articles as more accusers came forward. Their determination and conscientiousness won the 2018 Ancil Payne Award.
- Reuters correspondents Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who face a 14-year prison sentence for their coverage of the massacre of Rohingya Muslim refugees by Myanmar soldiers.
- Associated Press reporter Kristen Gelineau and photographer Maye-E Wong for ethically telling the stories of 21 Rohingya women and girls who witnessed the slaughter of their loved ones and suffered violent rape at the hands of Myanmar soldiers.
- The AP’s Maggie Michael, who documented the detention and torture of prisoners during Yemen’s ongoing civil war, prompting inquiries into the involvement of U.S. military interrogators.
Associated Press reporter Hannah Dreier and her editors won the 2017 Ancil Payne Award for “A Child’s Scraped Knee,” part of the AP’s “Venezuela Undone” series. As Dreier reported the story of Venezuela’s crumbling medical system through the prism of one child’s life-or-death struggle, she and her editors balanced the wellbeing of their subjects against their journalistic imperative to stay uninvolved, making difficult ethical decisions such as whether to supply life-saving medicine or put sources at risk.
In 2016, the SOJC selected two Ancil Payne Award–winning teams. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza, and Esther Htu San won for their Seafood from Slaves series, which investigated the human trafficking in Thailand’s $7 billion seafood industry. The journalists of the Las Vegas Review-Journal fought for transparency by reporting the secret sale of their newspaper despite management’s warnings to stay away from the story.
Interested in nominating someone or an organization?
Nominate them, yourself, or your team for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism.