CNN’s Clarissa Ward to accept 2022 National Press Club Fourth Estate Award

CNN Digital Expansion 2018, Clarissa Ward

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Clarissa Ward, CNN’s multi-award winning chief international correspondent based in London, will receive the National Press Club’s most esteemed prize, the Fourth Estate Award, at a Press Club gala in her honor on Wednesday, Dec. 7, in Washington. The award recognizes journalists who have made significant contributions to the field.

Ward has spent nearly two decades reporting from the front lines in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Ukraine for CNN, ABC, CBS, and Fox News. 

“I am incredibly honored to receive this esteemed award from the National Press Club at a time when the fourth estate is facing unprecedented threats around the world. From harassment and intimidation to imprisonment and violence, journalists put their lives on the line to challenge and question those in power,” Ward said. “The National Press Club has long been a leading supporter of press freedom, and I’m thrilled by this recognition.”

The Fourth Estate Award is the top honor bestowed on a journalist by the National Press Club Board of Governors. Previous winners include: Christiane Amanpour, Wolf Blitzer, Lester Holt, Susan Zirinsky, Dean Baquet, Marty Baron, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Tom Brokaw, and Walter Cronkite. 

The Gala dinner is a fundraiser for the Club’s nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute. The Institute advocates for press freedom worldwide, equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy, and provides scholarships to aspiring journalists.

The Fourth Estate gala will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the awards program starting at 7:30 p.m.

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The evening also will honor the winners of the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Awards. Rana Ayyub, an investigative journalist living in India and a Washington Post Global Opinions contributor, will be recognized for her courage while the Indian government has invasively undermined her rights and  freedom of expression in response to her critical reporting. Josh Renaud, a Missouri reporter who was targeted by the governor as a criminal hacker after his reporting revealed a vulnerability in a state education website. 

PBS Frontline will also be recognized with the 2022 Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism for its Local Journalism Initiative.

Ward is a recipient of multiple journalism honors, including nine Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, and one George Polk Award. She also authored “On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist,” which details her singular career as a conflict reporter and how she has documented the violent remaking of the world from close range.

Known for her in-depth investigations and high-profile assignments, Ward and her team were the first foreign journalists permitted to enter Myanmar nearly two months after a military coup in 2021. She has since reported from Afghanistan in the weeks leading up to and after the fall of Kabul and most recently from Ukraine, where she has spent more than 10 weeks this year covering the ongoing Russian invasion.

In late 2020, Ward led the two-time Emmy Award-winning investigation of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s poisoning, even confronting a suspected member of the elite Russian toxins team at his home outside Moscow.

In 2019, her months-long, Emmy Award-winning investigation into Russia’s growing use of mercenaries – Putin’s Private Army – included the first on-camera interview with a former fighter for Wagner, Russia’s most notorious private military contractor. After visiting a diamond mine with ties to a Russian oligarch in the Central African Republic, Ward and her team were followed and intimidated by a car full of Russians. After their reports came out, they were targeted by a Russian media propaganda campaign trying to discredit their reporting.

Ward has reported extensively in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011, with multiple undercover assignments in the country. As one of the last Western reporters to visit rebel-held Aleppo, Ward was asked to address a UN Security Council meeting on the embattled Syrian city in 2016, stating, “There are no winners in Aleppo.”

She has conducted many interviews with world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former CIA Director and retired US Army Gen. David Petraeus.

Ward graduated with distinction from Yale University, and in 2013 received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. She speaks fluent French and Italian, conversational Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and basic Mandarin.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

The National Press Club wants to ensure the evening is comfortable and safe. We encourage everyone attending, if possible, to administer an at-home COVID-19 test before coming to the event. We will not ask to see a negative test at the door, but we believe this will give everyone additional peace of mind before enjoying an evening of delicious food, drinks, and socializing. Masks are optional. The Club will update these guidelines as needed.

About the National Press Club

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major journalism organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

About the National Press Club Journalism Institute

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. As the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club, the Institute powers journalism in the public interest.

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