NU Gives Jailed Journalist Medal for Courage

Roxanna Saberi jailed for nearly a month in Iran

Recently released Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi will be awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism at the June 20 convocation of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Saberi, who until May 11 was in an Iranian prison, will not speak at the convocation ceremony, which is limited to Medill graduates and their guests.

Saberi earned a master’s degree in journalism from Medill in 1999, and worked as a journalist for National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Corp. and other news outlets until her arrest by the Iranian government in February.

She was convicted April 18 of espionage, and sentenced to eight years in prison.

"We are honored to welcome Roxana Saberi home to Medill and recognize her courage both as an alumna and as a dedicated journalist," said Medill Dean John Lavine.

Throughout Saberi’s ordeal, Northwestern and Medill faculty, staff and students spoke out against her imprisonment and, on April 23, held a rally in support of her release.  Some also orchestrated a hunger strike.

Katharine Weymouth, CEO and publisher of the Washington Post, is the convocation ceremony's featured speaker.

Medill annually awards its Medal for Courage for outstanding moral, ethical or physical courage in pursuit of a story to an individual or team of journalists working for a U.S.-based news outlet. The decision to award a special, out-of-cycle medal is a testament to Saberi’s personal and journalistic resilience during an extremely difficult ordeal, the university said in a release.

The 2008 medal winner was Cleveland Plain Dealer journalist Joanna Connors for "Beyond Rape: A Survivor’s Journey." That series explored not only trauma the reporter experienced but also issues of race and privilege that were raised by the crime against her.

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