Nikole Hannah-Jones Wins the 2018 John Chancellor Award | Columbia Journalism School
Hannah-Jones will be honored at Columbia University on Wednesday, November 14. Photo: Daniel Dorsa.

Nikole Hannah-Jones Wins the 2018 John Chancellor Award

Columbia Journalism School announced today that Nikole Hannah-Jones, an American investigative reporter, is the recipient of the 2018 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. Hannah-Jones covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. 

“Nikole Hannah-Jones is one of the country’s most distinctive and respected voices on the subject of race in America,” said Dean Steve Coll, a member of the Chancellor jury. “Her reporting on segregation in housing and education has performed a critical public service. She embodies the best of our profession and the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.”

The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a journalist for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor, best remembered for his distinguished reporting on civil rights, politics and election campaigns. Selected by a committee of 10 distinguished journalists, Hannah-Jones will receive the 2018 award with a $50,000 honorarium.

“I am so very surprised and honored to receive this tremendous recognition from Columbia Journalism School. This award is particularly meaningful to me because it is named after John Chancellor in honor of his reporting in Little Rock, Ark., on the battle for school desegregation, a subject for which I have dedicated my life to reporting,” said Nikole Hannah-Jones. “I hope to live up to the standards of excellence and journalism set by the other prestigious awardees who have come before me.”

The award will be presented at a luncheon ceremony at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York City on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

Nikole Hannah-Jones and Lester Holt, Anchor, “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “Dateline NBC,” will speak with students at Columbia Journalism School the day after the ceremony, on Thursday, November 15.

“Few reporters working today have as consistent a track record for producing major high-impact works of journalism in the public interest as Nikole Hannah-Jones,” said Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine. “Her sense of moral purpose is incredibly strong. She is here to make a difference. And she has proven, year after year, that she has the skill and tenacity to do just that.”

Hannah-Jones began her journalism career in 2003 as an education reporter covering the majority black Durham Public Schools for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She went on to report  for The Oregonian, the largest daily newspaper in the Pacific Northwest for six years. By 2011, she joined ProPublica to serve as an investigative journalist reporting and writing on civil rights, fair housing, school segregation and discrimination. In 2016, she helped found the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a news trade organization dedicated to increasing the ranks of investigative reporters of color. Currently, she is writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With.

Her extensive reporting, in both print and radio, about how official action, individual choice and public policy have perpetuated segregation in housing and schools has earned her a National Magazine Award, a Peabody, and a Polk Award. She was a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.

Nikole earned her bachelor's in history and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame and her master's in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native Iowan, Nikole now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

The John Chancellor Award was established in 1995 by Ira A Lipman, founder of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world's largest security service firms. The jury is chaired by Lynn Sherr, and in addition to Lipman includes Dean Steve Coll, Dean Emeritus Nicholas Lemann, Jelani Cobb, Hank Klibanoff, Michele Norris, Bill Wheatley and Mark Whitaker, as well as John Chancellor’s daughter, Mary Chancellor.

2018 John Chancellor Award Ceremony

About Columbia Journalism School

For more than a century, the Columbia Journalism School has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened in 1912 and offers Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Data Journalism, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communications.  It houses the Columbia Journalism Review, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The Ira A Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, and the Mike Berger Awards.

Caroline Martinet Wernecke 
Assistant Director

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Chantal De Soto
Communications Manager
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