National Press Foundation
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President and COO
|Mission||organizing educational programs for journalists and issuing awards for accomplishment|
The National Press Foundation (NPF) is an American journalism organization focused on educational programs for journalists and issuing awards for accomplishment. All programs are free for accepted fellows with expenses covered; all awards carry cash awards. The National Press Foundation is affiliated with the Council of National Journalism Organizations.
The NPF was incorporated in the District of Columbia on August 5, 1975, as a 501(c) 3. Early activities included support for the Erick Friedheim Library at the National Press Club (a separate organization); grants to authors and programs on business writing for journalism school deans, at a time when there were few such courses. The NPF focused its activities over time. By 1995 it limited itself to organizing educational programs for journalists and issuing awards for accomplishment.
Past presidents of NPF were Robert Alden, Frank Aukofer, Joseph Slevin, David Yount, and Bob Meyers, all former journalists.
The National Press Foundation conducts programs in Washington, D.C., around the U.S., in other countries, and online using digital technology. By 2013 NPF was conducting 35–50 days of programming annually, including webinars. Programs are specifically designed to help journalists increase their knowledge and skills in specific areas.
The Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship provides nine days of programs annually for reporters new to Washington DC. Four-day long programs are keyed issues such as cancer or retirement. Capitol Hill Issues Briefings look at legislation being considered by the House or the Senate; webinars provide information and access to journalists outside Washington. Other programs are developed in response to contemporary events, such as a one-day program on the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first paper on what is now called HIV.
NPF’s programs for international journalists are organized under the title of Journalist to Journalist (j2j), to emphasize that the programs are not a project of any state government (as the word “national” often conveys outside the U.S.).
From 2002 until 2011 NPF collaborated with the International AIDS Society on 3- or 4-day conferences for 35-60 journalists to prepare them to better cover the subject back home and to prepare them to cover the conferences that would immediately follow the training. These programs were held in Barcelona (2002), Bangkok (2004), Toronto (2006), Mexico City (2008) and Vienna (2010). In 2007 NPF began conducted the same kind of training program prior to the smaller, and more scientifically-based, AIDS conferences held in Sydney (2007) and Rome (2011). NPF has also collaborated with the AIDS Vaccine Alliance on small, highly technical programs, in Paris (2009), Atlanta (2010) and Bangkok (2011).
In 2011 NPF began a collaboration with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, in which 15-20 international journalists receive fellowships to attend a 3-day j2j program on lung health issues prior to the Union’s annual conference. In 2011 the program was held in Cancun; then in Berlin (2012), then Paris (2013).
NPF adds a Train the Trainer component to its international programs, in which j2j fellows provide brief overview sessions of what they have learned for their colleagues back home.
NPF webinars cover content-oriented topics as well as skills sessions. Topics have included violence against women, the U.S. farm bill, understanding risk, etc. Skills training webinars have included sessions on using new Google tools, Twitter for journalists, finding stories in the U.S. Census, redistricting, and understanding vaccines.
NPF puts all resources on its website and uses as appropriate channels on YouTube and Scribd. Of original and particular note within its resources is the Washington Beat Book, a detailed look at the agencies and organizations within Washington, written by and for journalists. The resources include video, audio, graphics and all other forms of resources.
NPF awards are made by a vote of individual committees, ratified by the board of directors. They include:
- Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award — the oldest award for an editor in the U.S., it was started in 1984 and was known as the George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award
- Sol Taishoff Broadcaster of the Year Award
- Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning — established in 1989
- W.M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award
- Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress
- Excellence in Online Journalism Award
- "Feddie" — for coverage of the impact of federal rules and regulations on local communities
- Chairman’s Citation — issued at the discretion of that year’s board chairman
NPF funding and governance
The NPF accepts funding from any organization that agrees to its guidelines, publicly available on its website. It funds certain activities through endowment gifts, and uses the net proceeds from its annual awards dinner for day-to-day activities. All funders are always identified. Funders have included the Knight Foundation, McCormick Tribune Foundation, Prudential Financial, Pfizer, the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, the American University in Cairo, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.
NPF is governed by a volunteer board of journalists and business executives. The 25-member board sets policy and supervises the five-person staff. Recent chairs of the board include John Walcott, team leader for national Security and Foreign Affairs, Bloomberg News, 2011-2013; Jerry Seib, Washington Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal, 2009-20011; Susan Swain, co-president, C-SPAN, 2007-2009; Sandy Johnson, then-Washington bureau chief, The Associated Press, 2005-2007.
Day-to-day operations of the foundation are vested in its staff of five people. These consist of a president, programs director, operations director, programs assistant and digital media manager.
The National Press Foundation President Emeritus is Bob Meyers, who was hired in 1993 and served as NPF President from 1995–2014. Meyers is a former reporter for the Washington Post (1976–81); former assistant city editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune (1984–89); former director of the Harvard Journalism for Advance Studies in Public Health (1989-1993) and the author of two books. Meyers is a member of the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Advisory Board; led a panel on the First Amendment at the 2012 Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference in Nashville; led a 2011 panel in Johannesburg, South Africa, sponsored by the South Africa Depression and Anxiety Group and the Carter Center; has spoken on journalism issues in Poland, Estonia, Romania and Latvia; and is the author of two books: Like Normal People (1977), the story of his mentally retarded younger brother and his struggle to marry and live a normal life; and DES: The Bitter Pill (1983), the story of a medical “wonder drug” that didn’t work as marketed and created medical problems, including cancer, for two generations of women, and some men.
The current NPF President is Sandy Johnson.
- "Members," Council of National Journalism Organizations. Archived May 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "National Press Foundation Inc: 501C3 Nonprofit Organization Information," TaxExemptWorld.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.
- "Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship 2015-2016," National Press Foundation website. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.
- "Retirement," National Press Foundation website. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.
- "CLIFFORD K. & JAMES T. BERRYMAN AWARD FOR EDITORIAL CARTOONS," National Press Foundation website. Accessed Jan. 17, 2016.
- "Journalism Fellowship Advisory Board," Carter Center website. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.
- "Compose, Create and Connect … in Nashville!," APME website. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.
- "Staff: Sandy Johnson," National Press Foundation website. Accessed Jan. 18, 2016.