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Free Press receives Estlow Center’s Anvil of Freedom award

Craig Aaron, president of Free Press, on Oct. 11 accepted the 2011 Anvil of Freedom Award from the Edward W. and Charlotte A. Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media.

“I’m honored to be here and accept the award on behalf of the staff,” Aaron said to a luncheon crowd of about 150 people at the Cable Center. The Estlow Center annually recognizes outstanding contributions to journalism.

Free Press, a national nonpartisan organization that promotes media reform, was selected for the award for its advocacy of legislation and policies protecting quality journalism and diverse ownership among media companies. The group also was influential in garnering support for the protection of net neutrality laws in late 2010.

During his talk, Aaron said much of the crisis in journalism has been self-inflicted. Journalists are taught to be objective and nonpartisan. As a result, they haven’t fought for public funding. Aaron mentioned studies that show the vast majority of Americans are willing to support public programming; the government just doesn’t fund it.

“What’s missing isn’t the money,” he said. “It’s the political will.”

Free Press was launched in late 2002 by media scholar Robert McChesney and Josh Silver. Today, Free Press is the largest media reform organization in the United States, with nearly half a million members and a full-time staff of more than 40 based in Washington, D.C., and Florence, Mass.

The events at the Cable Center were part of one-day event called “Journalism in the Public Interest,” which offered students, journalists and interested community members insight into a variety of topics affecting today’s media. It was hosted by DU’s Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies; DU’s Divisions of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and the Estlow Center for New Media.


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