Center for Public Integrity founder Charles Lewis has been chosen to receive this year’s prestigious I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence.
The award, administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, will be presented to Lewis on May 3 during a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass. It honors the life of groundbreaking investigative journalist I.F. Stone and is presented annually to the journalist “whose work captures the spirit of journalistic independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly,” a muckraking outlet that was published from 1953 to 1971.
“For nearly four decades, Chuck Lewis has led the reporting of groundbreaking journalism to uncover government corruption, cronyism, cover-ups and crimes,” said Florence Graves, chair of the medal selection committee. “A pioneer in nonprofit news, he has worked tirelessly to raise funds to help others do the same and to protect the independence of their work, free from the constraints of news organizations beholden to special interests.”
A former ABC News and CBS “60 Minutes” producer, Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity in 1989, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 1997. Under his leadership through 2004, the Center published approximately 300 investigative reports, including 14 books.
Its reporting projects have been honored dozens of times with major national journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for “Breathless and “Burdened,” which exposed how corrupt doctors and lawyers rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease. The international arm of the Center won a Pulitzer Prize for its massive 2016 investigation of offshore tax havens called The Panama Papers.
“The honor is richly deserved,” said Center CEO John Dunbar. “Chuck’s legacy will live on through the thousands of journalists he has inspired over the years.”
Since leaving the Center, Lewis has been deeply involved in fostering other nonprofit news organizations and pushing collaboration between nonprofit outlets and mainstream media publications. Lewis is currently the executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, and a professor in the school of communications there.