Washington Post’s Lowery receives NLP’s Journalist Fellow Award


Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron (left) and NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller (right) with the Post’s Wesley Lowery, this year’s John S. Carroll Journalist Fellow Award honoree.

Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron (left) and NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller (right) with the Post’s Wesley Lowery, this year’s John S. Carroll Journalist Fellow Award honoree.

For his contributions to journalism in the public interest and to news literacy, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post has earned the News Literacy Project’s John S. Carroll Journalist Fellow Award for 2018.

A national correspondent covering law enforcement and justice, Lowery led the Post’s “Fatal Force” project, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2016. The Post’s creation of a comprehensive database of fatal shootings by police and its related news articles led, among other changes, to the FBI’s vow to improve its tracking of such incidents.

Lowery’s first interaction with NLP came in 2015, when he was interviewed by founder and CEO Alan C. Miller about being arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, as he was reporting on the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a police officer. His eloquent description of his arrest became the basis for a thought-provoking lesson in Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital Age, an 11-part unit that NLP produced in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves.

“I really became a believer in this organization,” Lowery said when he received the award at an NLP staff dinner on July 18. “The work you are doing is really important.”

Lowery’s other contributions to NLP include leading a discussion on race and policing at a NewsLitCamp® with the Post at the Newseum on April 21 and serving as the host of NLP’s revamped lesson on investigative reporting, “Democracy’s Watchdog,” for Checkology® 2.0, to be released in mid-August.

“Wes is a driven and deeply passionate journalist motivated by the highest ideals of the profession and a determination to enlighten the public on subjects that receive too little attention, particularly in the realm of race and justice,” Martin Baron, the Post’s executive editor, said when Lowery was presented with the award.

The John S. Carroll Journalist Fellow Award is given annually to an NLP journalist volunteer who has contributed significantly to NLP’s mission. Carroll, one of the most revered newspaper editors of his generation, led the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader, The Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times. He also was one of NLP’s earliest supporters, served for four years as board chair and was a board member at the time of his death in 2015.

Honorees receive an engraved glass plaque with an etched photo of Carroll, along with a $500 check. NLP board members and staff select the recipients.

In presenting the award to Lowery, Miller said, “Wes reflects the values that John Carroll epitomized through his passionate commitment to a free and fearless press that holds the powerful accountable — and through his deeply reported, impactful, narrative investigative reporting.”

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