Department of Florida

Legion Announces Recipients of 4th Estate Journalism Awards

INDIANAPOLIS (May 17, 2019) – A San Francisco Bay-area television news station, a community newspaper and an influential online media outlet will receive The American Legion’s Fourth Estate Award during the 101st National Convention of the nation’s largest veterans organization in Indianapolis, on August 29.

The Fourth Estate Award has been presented annually by The American Legion since 1958 for outstanding achievement in the field of journalism. Nominations in 2019 were considered in three categories: broadcast, print and new media (Internet). They were selected by the organization’s Media & Communications Commission on May 6 and announced today.

Taking top honor in the broadcast category is San Francisco NBC-affiliate KNTV. In a comprehensive series titled “Failure to Report: Sex Abuse Victims Silenced,” the stationed examined allegations of sexual abuse made by student of a private high school in San Jose. As a result of the station’s reporting, the school revised its policies on the handling of abuse accusations, two teachers were put on administrative leave and the school’s president resigned.

The Republican of Springfield, Mass., is being recognized in the print category for its profile of World War II Army Nurse Corps veteran Louise Fleming. “There is another side of war, a time when beauty appears,” the feature said. The piece, authored by managing editor Cynthia Simison, highlights the distinguished service by Fleming and fulfills The American Legion’s longtime goal of promoting the honorable nature of military service.

The Fourth Estate New Media Award is going to Military.com. Reporter Oriana Pawlyk wrote about an Air Force policy prohibiting its pilots from using the HIV-preventative drug Truvada, despite its approval for use by members of other military branches. Shortly after the report was published, 14 members of Congress signed a letter to the Air Force secretary. The service soon after reversed its policy.

“As a veterans organization, The American Legion cherishes the U.S. Constitution, the First Amendment and the special role that a free press plays in our society,” said Brett. P. Reistad, national commander of The American Legion. “The American Legion would not be nearly as effective without media coverage of our positions and programs on the national and community level. The Fourth Estate Awards represent the best of the best. These award winners are being recognized for outstanding works of journalism that not only stand far above normal media reporting, but have also resulted in outcomes that have positively impacted the lives of people and issues. These committed journalists have devoted long, hard hours into investigating, researching, writing and producing reports that have truly made a difference.

“I will be honored to present each of these deserving recipients with our highest recognition of journalistic accomplishment, The American Legion Fourth Estate Award, at our national convention in Indianapolis this summer,” Reistad said. “They are all credits to their profession.”

Previous winners of the award include CNN, CBS, USA Today, ABC News, C-SPAN, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Life Magazine, among others.

The American Legion was founded by World War I veterans in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and patriotic youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts across the nation.

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