zenger award

Started in 1954 by the UA journalism program, the John Peter and Catherine Anne Zenger Award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to press freedom and the people’s right to know around the world.

The University of Arizona School of Journalism is one of only about 100 fully accredited journalism programs in the nation. Its classes range from traditional reporting skills to internet research and computerized graphic design. Its two newspapers, the local edition of The Tombstone Epitaph and El Independiente, the nation’s only student-run bilingual newspaper, are unique in American journalism education.

When it was established, the honor always was bestowed posthumously. In 1995, the directors of the Arizona Newspapers Association adopted rules to honor the men and women journalists of Arizona who have been at least 25 years in journalism with at least 10 years in Arizona. The Hall of Fame Committee may make recommendations for exceptions as it did in 1996.

To be honored, nominees must have made a significant contribution to journalism, their communities, and Arizona. Nominees are not restricted to any one avenue of newspaper management and may be an owner, publisher, editor, or manager of a department.

Since its inception, one or more worthy newspaper men and women were nominated each year by the ANA Hall of Fame committee and approved by the Board of Directors. (The Hall of Fame came under the purview of the Arizona Newspapers Foundation after it was formed in 1997.)

There were no awards from 1982 to 1995.

The Journalism Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson chaired the program for many years.

Who are the Zengers?

The Zenger Award is named for a husband and wife team of pioneering journalists.

John Peter Zenger was editor of the New York Weekly Journal in 1734 when he was jailed by British colonial authorities on charges of seditious libel. He had criticized the corrupt administration of New York’s governor, William Cosby. While Zenger was imprisoned, his wife, Anna Catherine Zenger, continued to publish the newspaper.

Zenger’s subsequent trial and acquittal is considered a landmark case in the history of freedom of the press, paving the way for the American Revolution.

Distinguished Recipients

1959Herbert Brucker, Hartford Courant

1958John Moss, U.S. House Govermental Information Subcommittee

1957James R. Wiggins, The Washington (D.C.) Post and Times Herald

1956James S. Pope, Louisville Courier Journal

1955Basil L. Walters, Chicago Daily News & Knight Newspapers

1954E. Palmer Hoyt, The Denver Post

1969J. Edward Murray, The Arizona Republic

1968Wes Gallagher, The Associated Press

1967John S. Knight, Knight Newspapers, Inc.

1966Arthur Krock, The New York Times

1965Eugene C. Pulliam, The Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette

1964John Netherland Heiskell, Arkansas Gazette

1963James B. Reston, The New York Times

1962John H. Colburn, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch

1961Clark R. Mollenhoff, Cowles Publications

1960Virgil M. Newton Jr., Tampa (Fla.) Tribune

1979Jack C. Landau, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

1978Robert H. Estabrook, Lakeville (Conn.) Journal

1977Robert W. Greene, Newsday

1976Donald F. Bolles, The Arizona Republic

1975Seymour M. Hersh, The New York Times

1974Thomas E. Gish, The Mountain Eagle

1973Katharine Graham, The Washington Post

1972Dan Hicks Jr., Monroe County Democrat

1971 — The New York Times

1970Erwin D. Canham, The Christian Science Monitor

1989Robert C. Maynard, The Oakland Tribune

1988Jean H. Otto, The Rocky Mountain News

1987Eugene L. Roberts Jr., The Philadelphia Inquirer

1986John R. Finnegan, St. Paul (Minn.)Pioneer Press & Dispatch

1985Thomas Winship, The Boston Globe

1984Tom Wicker, The New York Times

1982Fred W. Friendly, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

1981Paul S. Cousley, Alton (Ill.) Telegraph

1980Walter Cronkite, CBS

1998U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont

1997Mark Goodman, Student Press Law Center

1996Nat Hentoff, Washington Post

1995Ben Bagdikian, media scholar

1994 — Investigative Reporters & Editors

1993Jane E. Kirtley, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

1992Helen Thomas, United Press International

1991Peter Arnett, Cable News Network

1990Terry A. Anderson, The Associated Press

2009Tom Arviso Jr., Navajo Times

2007Jerry Mitchell, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger

2005Bill Moyers, Broadcast Journalist

2003Vanessa Leggett, Lecturer and free lance writer

2001Lou Boccardi and The Associated Press

2000Paul K. McMasters, The Freedom Forum

2021Committee to Protect Journalists, for its role in defending the rights and safety of journalists around the world.

2020Dean Baquet, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and first Black executive editor to lead both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times

2019Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Anchor for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program Amanpour. She is also the host of Amanpour & Company on PBS

2018Carmen Aristegui Flores, Mexican journalist and anchorwoman

2017Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times

2016Dana Priest, Washington Post investigative reporter, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

2015Kathy Gannon, AP foreign correspondent, and Anja Niegringhaus, AP foreign photographer

2014Paul Steiger, the founding editor-in-chief and CEO of ProPublica

2013Jonathan Randal, journalist, foreign correspondent and author

2012Rocío Gallegos Rodríguez and Sandra Rodríguez Nieto, investigative reporters, El Diario de Juárez, Mexico