John Chancellor Award | Columbia Journalism School

John Chancellor Award

The John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, founded in 1995, is presented each year to a reporter with courage, character and integrity for cumulative professional accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor.

How to Enter

The 2023 John Chancellor Award is now open for submission. Deadline to enter: April 28.

To be entered for consideration, journalists must be nominated. The nominator will need to fill out the Chancellor Application form.

For print nominations: a pdf file with legible pages of the nomination material is recommended. For broadcast nominations: a list of working permanent links to programming is recommended.

Required Supporting Materials:

  • A nominating letter by someone other than the journalist that includes a brief summary of journalistic accomplishments. The Chancellor Board looks for sustained journalistic accomplishments over time, where the journalist’s reporting as a whole is greater than any single story he or she may have covered. Please explain the impact of the reporting.
  • Nominations may have up to three letters of support.
  • Resumé or CV, including any major awards received.
  • Provide 5­-10 examples of the person's best work:

Newspaper/Magazine Nominee: 5­-10 significant newspaper or magazine stories by the nominee. Please link to stories or include PDFs. If sending PDFs please include articles in the original layout, if possible. Photocopies of PDFs must be easy to read.

Broadcast/TV or Radio Nominee: 5­-10 significant broadcast stories by the nominee. TV and radio stories should be submitted just as they aired, without reediting. Contact the Chancellor Award office for coverage of breaking news stories, if applicable. Please provide links to stories.

This award is intended for a journalist whose principal audience is in the U.S. If the original reporting is in a language other than English, transcripts or subtitles in English must be provided.

Masha Gessen - 2022 John Chancellor Award Winner

Masha Gessen, staff writer for The New Yorker, is the recipient of the 2022 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. In a career spanning three decades and two continents, Gessen has been a brave and indispensable voice on some of the most important issues that face Russia and the United States. Readers have turned to Gessen to better understand the steady erosion of civil liberties under Vladimir Putin’s regime, the degradation of democratic norms in the Trump era and its aftermath, the state of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in both countries, the plight of refugees at the U.S. border and beyond, and, most recently, Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine.

In reporting that was both prescient and far-ranging, Gessen filed dispatches from Kyiv and Kharkiv just weeks before those cities were devastated; from Moscow as Russia’s few remaining independent news outlets shut down, one by one; and then from Istanbul, Tbilisi, and other destination points for dissident Russians as bombs fell on Ukraine.

They are also a prolific essayist and translator as well as the winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Future Is History, a title that hints at the wide-lens ambition and unique wisdom of their journalism.

Read the full announcement.


The recipient of the $25,000 John Chancellor Award is selected each year by a distinguished panel of journalists who look across the media landscape to identify a reporter who may not be widely known by the public but who is highly respected within the profession for the caliber of his or her work.

The award was established in 1995 by Ira A. Lipman, founder of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world's largest security service firms. Lipman provided a gift to Columbia University to support the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism and to fund scholarships at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Chancellor Scholarships provide significant financial aid to students who have the leadership qualities exemplified by John Chancellor.

Ira Lipman became a lifelong friend of John Chancellor after the two met in Little Rock, Ark. in 1957. Chancellor, the NBC News correspondent in Little Rock, was reporting on the desegregation struggle at Central High School, and Lipman became Chancellor’s trusted source. Shining a national spotlight on this gripping regional story, the quality of Chancellor’s informed and insightful reporting propelled him to national attention. He became an anchor of NBC’s Today program and an anchor and commentator for NBC Nightly News. Chancellor is best remembered for the depth of his reporting and his rare personal grace and civility. Lipman subsequently founded Guardsmark, LLC.

The Chancellor Scholarships were awarded for the first time in August 2005, and are currently providing financial assistance for M.S. students. The criteria for scholarship assistance are financial need, academic achievement, and commitment to leadership in print or broadcast journalism.

Ira Lipman passed away on September 16, 2019 at his home in New York City. 

Past Winners

See past winners:





Notable Work
2021 Tony Bartelme Senior Projects Reporter The Post and Courier

The Greenland ConnectionRising WatersUncoveredStickin’ with The PigEvery Other Breath

2020 Donald G. McNeil Jr. Science and public health reporter The New York Times

"MEDICINE MERCHANTS: Patents and Patients; As Devastating Epidemics Increase, Nations Take On Drug Companies," 
"In India, a Quest to Ease the Pain of Dying," "Colombia Is Hit Hard by Zika, but Not by Microcephaly," 
"Learning to Live with the Coronavirus," “The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead”


2019 Ginger Thompson Senior Reporter ProPublica

Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border,” “How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico,” “A Drug Family in the Winner’s Circle," “After Losing Freedom, Some Immigrants Face Loss of Custody of Their Children,” “Fear and Death Ensnare U.N.’s Soldiers in Haiti,” “Fatal Secrets in Honduras

2018 Nikole Hannah-Jones Staff Writer The New York Times Magazine "The Resegregation of Jefferson County," "Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City," "A Prescription for More Black Doctors," "The Problem We All Live With," "Living Apart," "Segregation Now"
2017 Dan Balz Chief correspondent The Washington Post "There are three branches of government, and two are in distress," "Donald Trump, America's first independent president," "Why does Hillary Rodham Clinton want to be president?" "Hard choices and challenges follow triumph," "Nation braces for a long count," "In week two, velocity of allegations slows and a Clinton survival strategy emerges


Gwen Ifill

Co-anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour and moderator and managing editor of Washington Week with Gwen Ifill


“PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate," “America After Charleston," “Political Divide on Immigration Reform Looms Over Families," “Obama: Diplomatic Solution to Syria ‘Overwhelmingly My Preference'," “March on Washington 50th Anniversary"


Alissa J. Rubin

Paris bureau chief

The New York Times

Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against Culture,” “On a Helicopter, Going Down: Inside a Lethal Crash in Iraq,”  “Afghan Rape Case Turns Focus on Local Police,” “How Baida Wanted to Die,” “In a Cold Room, Memories of a Life of Flowers.”


Martin Smith

Writer, producer, correspondent


Money, Power & Wall Street,” “Obama’s War,” “Heat,” “Return of the Taliban,” “The Storm,” “Truth, War & Consequences


Richard Engel

Chief foreign correspondent

NBC News

Inside North Korea,” “Arab Spring - Egypt,” “War Zone Diary, "I can't keep this up much longer," “Syrian refugees look to America for help,” “Interivew with President George W. Bush (2008),” “Richard Engel rides with combat troops leaving Iraq


Maria Hinojosa

News anchor and reporter


"America By the Numbers," "Frontline, Lost In Detention," "The Bronx River," "Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?"


David Evans

Senior writer

Bloomberg Markets

Duping the Families of Fallen Soldiers,” "The Hidden Pension Fiasco,” “The Ratings Charade,” “How Test Companies Fail Your Kids,” “Big Pharma’s Shameful Secret


Robert Siegel


NPR’s All Things Considered

Michael Chertoff Defends Rescue Efforts in New Orleans,” “Troy & Tovan,” “Childhood on Trial,” “Covering the Chengdu Earthquake


Ken Armstrong

Investigative reporter

The Seattle Times

"Failure of the Death Penalty in Illinois," "Trial & Error," "Victory and Ruins," "School district ignored warnings, then silenced girls fondled by teacher"


Jane Mayer

Staff Writer

The New Yorker


Andrew C. Revkin

Science Correspondent

The New York TImes



Ofra Bikel



The Case for Innocence,” “An Ordinary Crime,” “The O.J. Verdict,” “Requiem for Frank Lee Smith” “Saving Elian,” “The Unexpected Candidate


Henry Weinstein


Los Angeles Times

Democracy Now,” “Bay Area Indy Media,” “TruthDig,” “LA Observed,” “Take Back the Times,” “LA Times story on Henry Weinstein,” “CJR Daily ‘Henry Weinstein On What Great Journalism Can and Cannot Do’”


Jerry Mitchell

Investigative Reporter

The Clarion-Ledger

Jerry Mitchell interview on NPR’s Fresh Air,” “View Video of Award Ceremony


Linda Greenhouse


The New York Times


Mary McGrory


Washington Post


Jim Wooten

Senior Correspondent

ABC News


John Herbers

Washington correspondent (Ret.)

The New York Times


Claude Sitton

Editor (Ret.)

The News & Observer


Paul Duke

Moderator (Ret.), “Washington Week in Review”



John Kifner

Senior foreign correspondent

The New York Times


Wilson F. “Bill” Minor


The Times-Picayune



Selection Committee

See judges:

Mary Chancellor Chancellor Family  
Jelani Cobb Professor of Journalism Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Steve Coll Dean & Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Cheryl Gould Former Senior Vice President NBC News
Hank Klibanoff Director of the Journalism Program, James M. Cox Jr. Professor Emory University
Michele Norris Opinion columnist  The Washington Post
Lynn Sherr Former Correspondent ABC News
Bill Wheatley Former Executive Vice President NBC News
Mark Whitaker Former news executive CNN, NBC News, and Newsweek