Fourth Estate Award Gala honors journalism excellence

Amanda Bennett, best known for her award-winning leadership in investigative reporting at The Wall Street Journal, The Oregonian, and Bloomberg News, received the National Press Club’s most esteemed prize, the Fourth Estate Award, at a Press Club gala in her honor on October 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Bennett is the 47th recipient of the award, which recognizes journalists who have made significant contributions to the field.

The Fourth Estate Award is the top honor bestowed on a journalist by the National Press Club Board of Governors. Previous winners include Marty Baron, Dean Baquet, Wolf Blitzer, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward, Jim Lehrer, Walter Cronkite, Christiane Amanpour, and David Broder.

The Neil and Susan Sheehan award for investigative journalism was given to Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald for her work exposing Jeffrey Epstein.

Brown’s work revealed a decade-old secret plea bargain that hid the scope of accusations against Epstein and denied the young women he victimized their day in court. The Herald’s series – “Perversion of Justice” – led to a federal sex trafficking indictment against Epstein and the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta for his past role in the deal.

The evening also featured the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award winners: Aasif Sultan, a journalist with the Kashmir Narrator magazine who has spent a year in jail for his reporting, and POLITICO reporter Mackenzie Mays for her dogged pursuit of the truth in the face of harassment while reporting for McClatchy’s Fresno Bee.

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