Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Izzy Award, the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College has announced that this year’s award is being shared by four journalists who published path-breaking and in-depth reporting in 2017 that exposed political corruption, environmental hazards and militarism: investigative reporter Lee Fang of The Intercept; Investigative Fund reporting fellow and Intercept journalist Sharon Lerner; Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail; and author Todd Miller.
The Izzy Award, presented for outstanding achievement in independent media, is named in memory of I.F. “Izzy” Stone, the dissident journalist who launched I.F. Stone’s Weekly in 1953 and challenged McCarthyism, racism, war and government deceit. The award ceremony is scheduled for April 24 at Ithaca College; details to be announced.
The Izzy Award judges commented: “Each of this year’s Izzy winners has broken new ground in exposing corporate profiteering and the power of money over public policy. Their breakthrough coverage is made possible by non-corporate outlets such as The Intercept, Truthout and TomDispatch.com, resources such as The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, and publishers like City Lights Books.”
Lee Fang published 100 original investigative pieces in The Intercept during the first year of the Trump era, including reports on lobbyists and extremists in and around the administration, the crackdown on sanctuary cities and states, environmental deregulation, battles inside the Democratic Party, and the corrupting influence of corporate donations on civil rights groups. He expects and demands answers from those in power.
“Lee Fang has long been one of the most tenacious reporters on the money and politics beat,” said the Izzy Award judges. “We were impressed by the global reach of his reporting last year, from Germany to Saudi Arabia to Honduras to a jaw-dropping expose on the efforts of a well-funded corporate libertarian network to reshape Latin American politics.”
Author of “The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right,” the San Francisco-based Fang has been an investigative blogger for ThinkProgress and a contributing writer for The Nation.
Sharon Lerner, an Investigative Fund reporting fellow, carved out a beat at The Intercept covering science, health and the environment. She has reported on reversals at the EPA and the suppression of scientists, and offered exhaustive probing of the human cost of Dow Chemical’s decades-long effort to save the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos – obtaining internal EPA documents to show the agency’s pro-industry bias. Another in-depth feature exposed how Exxon Mobil had pumped toxins into a largely black community in Texas for years thanks to EPA inaction in the face of a civil rights complaint. Yet another focused on a Louisiana town plagued by air pollution from a DuPont plant.
“In a year of retrenchment at the EPA, Sharon Lerner has been on the journalistic barricades,” said the Izzy judges. “With poignant attention paid to the people affected, her meticulous scientific reporting on environmental toxins and environmental racism has sparked action by state attorneys general and members of Congress.”
The veteran environmental journalist’s “Teflon Toxin” series was a 2016 finalist for a National Magazine Award.
Dahr Jamail is known for unvarnished reporting at Truthout on climate change and other environmental assaults, including those caused by the U.S. military. In the face of official denialism in Washington, his monthly wrap-ups of the latest climate research and trends – “Climate Disruption Dispatches” – have become an essential resource for scientists and fellow journalists.
Commented the judges: “There is an urgency and passion in Dahr Jamail’s reporting that is justified by the literally earth-changing subject matter. And it’s supported by science and on-the-scene sources, whether covering ocean pollution, sea level rise, deafening noise pollution or Fukushima radiation.”
A longtime reporter on the Middle East, Jamail is the author of the books “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan” and the forthcoming “The End of Ice.” He is based in Washington State.
Todd Miller published the groundbreaking 2017 book “Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration and Homeland Security” (City Lights Books), which focuses in personal terms on “climate refugees” across the globe. The book shows how industrialized nations that contribute most heavily to global warming, especially the United States, seem slower to invest in carbon reduction than in the profitable industry of border security to ward off refugees. Truthout published an excerpt (“In the Era of Climate Change, Militarized Borders Reinforce an Unjust World Order”), while TomDispatch.com published Miller’s book-related essay (“The Market in Walls is Growing in a Warming World”).
Said the judges: “Every so often a book comes along that can dramatically change, or elevate, one’s thinking about a global problem. Much like Naomi Klein’s books, Todd Miller’s ‘Storming the Wall’ is such a book and deserves far more attention and discussion.”
A Tucson-based journalist who has written about border issues for more than 15 years, Miller is also the author of “Border Patrol Nation.” He contributes to the "Border Wars" column of the NACLA Report on the Americas.
The Izzy Award judges for all 10 years have been PCIM Director Jeff Cohen, University of Illinois communications professor and author Robert W. McChesney, and Linda Jue, executive director and editor of the San Francisco-based G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism.
Previous winners of the Izzy Award are Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Robert Scheer, City Limits, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Center for Media and Democracy/“ALEC Exposed,” Mother Jones, John Carlos Frey, Nick Turse, Naomi Klein, David Sirota, Jamie Kalven, Brandon Smith, Inside Climate News/“Exxon: The Road Not Taken,” Shane Bauer, Seth Freed Wessler, Ari Berman and the producers of the “America Divided” series.
Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, the Park Center for Independent Media was launched in 2008 as a center for the study of journalism-oriented media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems.