NLP’s Journalist of the Year has witnessed harm misinformation can inflict
Co-host, CNN Newsroom
2021 John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year
Alisyn Camerota has provided unflinching coverage, essential context and vital and verified information on major news stories to millions of people during her career as a leading broadcast journalist.
She also has seen misinformation, hoaxes and baseless rumors increasingly pollute the information landscape, as facts fall victim to false narratives. If such distortions and falsehoods are not called out and corrected, she says, real harm can occur, which is what happened during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“People stormed the Capitol because they had misinformation. They were fed falsehoods and lies about the election, and they didn’t know that,” Camerota, who co-anchors the afternoon program CNN Newsroom, said during a video interview with NLP. “You can have your own conspiracy theories, but you can’t have your own facts.”
In recognition of her dedication to quality journalism and her efforts to help make young people more news-literate, NLP has named Camerota its John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year for 2021.
“Alisyn has made a real commitment to help us bring news literacy education to students across the nation,” said NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller. “She has taken the time to talk to our students, participate in and help steward important NLP events, and bring greater visibility to our mission as a respected journalist on the national stage.”
Camerota is the eighth journalist to win the award, which is given in honor of Carroll, a revered newspaper editor and former NLP board chair who died in 2015. Recipients of the award receive $500 and an engraved glass plaque with an etched photo of Carroll, who was the editor of the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader, The Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m really touched and flattered to receive the John S. Carroll Award, particularly this year, because it has been a trying year,” Camerota said. “It has been a really challenging year for journalism to be able to broadcast during a global pandemic.”
Camerota has been involved with NLP since 2017. That year, she led a lesson on journalism at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Queens, New York, and later wrote a piece about her experience for CNN.com.
“One of the best things that’s happened since I’ve been involved with NLP is meeting the students and getting to know them,” she said. “These kids explained to me how they took the course and understood that they had the tools to distinguish real news from fake websites, or satire websites, and how empowered they felt.”
In April 2018, she interviewed two students from the school during an NLP dinner in New York. That July, Camerota hosted an awards luncheon for the two students at CNN, where they each received the Gwen Ifill Student of the Year Award.
In 2019, she became one of the initial members of NLP’s National Leadership Council and helped arrange a cultivation lunch at CNN’s New York bureau at Hudson Yards, where she and CNN colleague Anderson Cooper were the featured guests. In January of this year, she was among a group of CNN executives, anchors and reporters on the panel “Women on the Frontlines of News Reporting” at NLP’s virtual NewsLitCamp®, presented with the network.
“My great hope for NLP is that it can just be more widespread, it can get into more classrooms, it can have an impact on more students, because I have a lot of faith in this next generation, that they want to be engaged, they want the real information, but they need the tools to do it,” she said.
Camerota brings a wealth of journalism experience to her work with NLP. She joined CNN in 2014 after 16 years at Fox News, where she was co-host of America’s News Headquarters, a co-anchor of Fox & Friends Weekend and a national correspondent for several years.
She has covered the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, the Paris and Brussels terror attacks and the Parkland school shooting. In the hours after the shooting, she interviewed several student survivors and has followed their stories through today. Camerota has also anchored various prime time specials, including Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America and The Hunting Ground: Sexual Assault on Campus. Earlier in her career she worked at ABC News, NBC and local news outlets.
In this video, Camerota discusses why she believes news literacy is so important.
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