Fund for American Studies Recognizes Young Journalists

Roger Kimball, editor and publisher of The New Criterion, has won a career achievement award from a prominent leadership development organization.

The Fund for American Studies hosted its annual Journalism Awards Dinner to honor young journalists for their contributions and feature projects made possible by the organization.

The dinner Thursday night at the Metropolitan Club in New York City showcased the work of journalists young and old, highlighting projects devoted to ideas of “limited government, free-market economics, and honorable leadership.”

Honors on display at the Journalism Awards Dinner in New York. (Photos: The Fund for American Studies)

The New Criterion’s Kimball received the 2019 Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award. Besides overseeing the monthly literary magazine, he is a frequent contributor to other publications in America and the U.K., including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and National Review.

“Roger stands proudly on the front lines in the battle to defend civilization,” said Rebekah Mercer, president of the Mercer Family Foundation and a board member of The Heritage Foundation, who presented the Phillips award to Kimball. 

“Roger slays his foe with a lethal combination of humor, searing intellect, and irrefutable evidence,” Mercer said.

Past recipients of the award include political columnist Charles Krauthammer, Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, and National Review founder William F. Buckley.

“Language matters,” Kimball said during his acceptance speech. “Achieving the accurate representation of the world is not only a linguistic desideratum, it is also a political imperative.”

Kimball also honored the legacy of Joseph Rago, an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal who died unexpectedly in 2017 at age 34. The Fund for American Studies presented a fellowship in Rago’s memory to Matthew Taylor King, a young journalist who will get an internship at the Journal.

From left: Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal; Matthew Taylor King, recipient of the Rago Fellowship; and Paul Rago, father of Joseph Rago.

“Much of our culture has collided against the accurate representation of the world,” Kimball added. “We owe The Fund for American Studies a great debt for understanding what is at stake in the seemingly pedestrian activity of telling the truth. Long may it prosper.”

The evening also featured the work of the Washington-based organization’s 2019 Robert Novak Fellows, honoring long-form writing projects by seven young journalists it sponsored: Alexandra Hudson, of the American Institute for Economic Research; Chris Moody, formerly of CNN; Serena Sigillito, Witherspoon Institute; Grace Stark, Georgetown University; Kristin Tate, The Hill; Mene Ukueberuwa, The Wall Street Journal; and Benjamin Weingarten, The Federalist.

Novak Fellowship recipients. from left: Serena Sigillito, Grace Stark, Mene Ukueberuwa, Chris Moody, Benjamin Weingarten, and Alexandra Hudson. Not pictured: Kristin Tate.

Their projects included stories on the unexpected side effects of birth control, the rampant growth of the federal workforce, and changes to America’s foreign policy regarding China.

Paul Gigot, vice president and editorial page editor at The Wall Street Journal, also spoke at the event, praising Rago’s work and welcoming the new fellows.

Gigot went on to criticize the state of modern media, stressing that unbiased journalists are more valuable than ever.

“In this period of political polarization, so many journalists these days have moved into political camps—one side or the other—and define themselves by partisan loyalties,” Gigot said.

Gigot held up Rago as an example of principled journalism before handing over the microphone to Rago’s father, Paul Rago, who offered a statement in his son’s memory.

The Fund for American Studies, which offers leadership programs for students entering the world of public policy and media, hosts its journalism awards dinner each year in New York City as a way to honor what it considers to be top-notch journalism.

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