The Denver Press Club awarded its 2022 Damon Runyon Award to Pulitizer Prize winning author and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. He was introduced and presented the award at the April 22 dinner by his friend and colleague Greg Moore, a past editor for 14 years of The Denver Post and a board trustee at The Boettcher Foundation.
In his acceptance of the award Robinson told some 300 guests of the continued dangers caused by misinformation and disinformation of social media outlets and the continued threats to First Amendment rights in a period of political polarization.
“Disinformation is a great threat to the First Amendment and free expression,” he said. “Maybe the solution is to make social media liable for disinformation.”
The 155-year-old Press Club has been closed for two years as a result of the pandemic and during that time has endured an arson fire, a burst water pipe and other structural challenges. Guests were enthusiastic to meet colleagues, co-workers and veteran journalists in person and to recognize the work of working journalists in the trenches, young student journalists soon to graduate, and free speech in general.
A native of South Carolina, Robinson has been at The Washington Post since 1980 and has worn many hats during his tenure. He has been a city hall reporter, assistant city editor, city editor, foreign editor, assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s Style section, and associate editor. He served as The Post’s South America correspondent, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1988 to 1992, and as the paper’s London bureau chief from 1992 to 1994.
Robinson has been writing his op-ed page for The Washington Post since 2005. In 2009 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his “eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.”
Robinson is the author of three books: Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race; Last Dance in Havana; and Disintegration, The Splintering of Black America.
The Press Club also announced scholarship awards for Colorado journalism students and the Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting.
This year’s student sward winners include: Hank Bedingfield (Colorado College), Elias Born (Colorado Mesa University), Taylor Burnfield (CU Colorado Springs), Robin Gross, (University of Northern Colorado) Lauren Irwin (CU Boulder), Yzeppa Macias (MSU Denver), Ana Ortega (University of Denver), Kailey Pickering (CSU Fort Collins) and Michelle Wells (CSU Pueblo). (Accepting the award on behalf of Robin Gross of the University of Northern Colorado was Emily Guttierrez).
This year the Nakkula Award went to Meribah Knight of Nashville Public Radio and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica. The award, sponsored by the Journalism department at the College of Media, Communication and Information and the Denver Press Club, honors the late Al Nakkula, a 46-year veteran of the Rocky Mountain News whose tenacity made him a legendary police reporter. Nakkula passed away in 1990.
For more information on events, donations or membership please visit the Denver Press Club at: Denverpressclub.org.