At the 64th presentation of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts on July 13, David McCraw, vice president and deputy general counsel at The New York Times Co., called for a national conversation about the importance of press freedom.
“Now is a good time to remember the essential core message of the Frist Amendment: don’t shut up,” McCraw said. While he said he believes journalists enjoy “an amazing amount of press freedom in this country…, the battle to preserve it and expand it is never really over. This is a particular dangerous time because the level of skepticism around the press has never been higher.”
McCraw congratulated the Silver Gavel winners for their “outstanding work,” in going after untold stories.
“The award winners tonight used their words, their pictures, their videos and old-fashioned on- the-ground reporting to tell the world about how lawmakers and courts persecute gay Americans and how police use traffic laws as a fire hose of discrimination against Black motorists,” McCraw said. “They shed much needed light of what’s going on in those ICE detention centers, and they reported how an arrest-hungry sheriff turned data into oppression and how our system of justice makes it nearly impossible to hold bad cops accountable, and they revealed how the authorities should have been finding and prosecuting the killers of Ahmaud Arbery spent their time instead figuring out how to look the other way and hoped that no one noticed.”
This year, the ABA awarded six Silver Gavels and six Honorable Mention citations, in the categories of books, documentaries, newspapers, radio and multimedia. Click here for a complete list of awardees and links to their work.
ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said the awards, “are among our Association’s most important and enduring annual traditions.”
Refo added that the award’s rich history includes winners such as Sidney Lumet’s classic jury room drama, “12 Angry Men,” from United Artists; CBS 1960 drama “Perry Mason,” the podcast Serial and “Just Mercy,” a book by Bryan Stevenson.
- The recorded program is available here.
- Silver Gavel Awards selection criteria and entry requirements
- ABA Journal: 2021 Silver Gavel Awards honor works on court secrecy, racial justice, women rights