Diplomats, foreign dignitaries and fellow journalists attended a ceremony at the Embassy of Italy honoring Gwen Ifill this past week.
The PBS journalist, moderator/managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor/managing editor for NewsHour, has been selected to receive the 2015 Urbino Press Award this June.
H.E. Claudio Bisogniero, Italian ambassador to the United States, explained to visitors how complicated and challenging the world in which we live has made journalism even more important than ever. That, he said, is the concept behind the award.
He commended Ifill for setting a new benchmark for journalists, citing her work on the 2008 presidential debate, Washington Week and NewsHour.
Ifill said she was honored to follow in the footsteps of previous award winners whom she called an “earnest club of storytellers.” She explained how these great journalists have just one more question to ask, and share a little bit too much curiosity.
She said she hears from college students that so many people simply watch Jon Stewart for their news. “Where do you think he gets his news?” Ifill asked the audience. “I can tell you,” she continued, “he gets it from people like the journalists you honor — people who are persuaded that we can be the light of this world, by never accepting the first answer, by learning how to tell a story in an elegant and accessible way and by respecting our audience’s desire to embrace more, not less.”
The Urbino Press Award, now in its 10th edition, has become a tradition in Washington’s diplomatic and journalistic life since it was first presented in 2006 at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. The prize is assigned every year in recognition of excellence in journalism to American reporters who, through their commitment and daily work, have the ability to inform millions of people.
Past recipients of the award include Diane Rehm (2006), Michael Weisskopf (2007), Martha Raddatz (2008), Thomas Friedman (2009), David Ignatius (2010), Helene Cooper (2011), Sebastian Rotella (2012), Wolf Blitzer (2013) and Maria Bartiromo (2014).
The winner of the Urbino Press Award is formally announced every year in April at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. The prize itself is awarded at the Palazzo Ducale in the City of Urbino in June. The winner travels to Urbino to participate in a ceremony and then holds a “Lectio Magistralis” at the Palazzo Ducale.
The City of Urbino, which during the Renaissance gave life to one of the most enlightened courts of Europe, symbolically reinstates its court, once enriched by geniuses like Baldassare Castiglione and Torquato Tasso, with the voice and experience of today’s reporters, the outstanding interpreters of the events that are changing our world.