2012 Courage in Journalism Awards

Maria Shriver, Chelsea Handler, Annette Bening, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Westfeldt and Others Honor Heroic Female Journalists at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards

 

At the 2012 “Courage in Journalism Awards,” staged by the International Women’s Media Foundation, Maria Shriver said the event, which she attends most years, always humbles her.  The evening honored women who risk their lives to report the news from some of the most troubled areas of the world.

(Be sure to check the photo gallery below for 20+ event pictures)

“These amazing women encourage me; their stories uplift me; their work astounds me and leaves me in awe,” said Shriver, a Peabody Award-winning journalist herself. “All of us here tonight and around the world are beneficiaries of their courage, their voices and their noble struggle.”

Speaking on behalf of Pakistani Media pioneer Zubeida Mustafa, recipient of the IWMF’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Shriver said, “When you hear the words lifetime achievement winner, you know you’re talking about someone really important… someone who has broken the mold and paved the way, someone who has usually risked it all, someone who knows both heights and usually the depths that life can bring to you.”

Chelsea Handler, Annette Bening and Olivia Munn, who plays a television journalist in HBO’s “The Newsroom,” also came to the Beverly Hills Hotel to present awards to these heroic women reporters. To a person, the celebrities said they were honored to be there. And after hearing the stories of bravery demonstrated by the award recipients, I felt honored myself to be able to lend my applause.

Chelsea Handler, like the other presenters, treated the event with due deference. Yet in a welcome lightening of the mood, she thanked everyone for allowing her to be part of “such an important evening about media that has absolutely nothing to do with the bull**** I have to deal with every single day.”

Handler, the host of “Chelsea Lately,” introduced Asmaa al-Ghoul, a blogger and free-lance journalist in Gaza. Because of her reporting on the protests, al-Ghoul regularly receives death threats.

“Imagine living in a country where as a woman the words you speak can endanger your life – imagine me living there,” said Handler.

Annette Bening spoke about Reeyot Alemu, who is imprisoned for her columns in the Ethiopian newspaper “Fetch.” As Alemu could not attend, journalist Elias Wondimu accepted the award on her behalf.

Olivia Munn paid tribute to Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. Ismayilova has been blackmailed for her stories of corruption in the Azerbaijani government.

In addition to the award presentations, Los Angeles Times president and chief operating officer Kathy Thomson introduced Jennifer Westfeldt, who read a column by a previous Lifetime Achievement Award winner, the late Molly Ivins. Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” accompanied Westfeldt, the Tony-nominated actress and writer of “Kissing Jessica Stein,” to the dinner.

Thomson called Ivins, the outspoken Texas journalist, one of are “few personalities who are so outsize, so distinctive that they remain icons long after they lay down their pens.” (In January, Kathleen Turner played the outspoken Texan in “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” at the Geffen Playhouse.)

More than 300 guests came to the Oct. 29 dinner, although Hurricane Sandy kept Cindi Leive, the night’s original host, stuck on the east coast. Leive is editor-in-chief of Glamour Magazine.

So event chair Theodore Boutrous, Jr., joined Aisha Tyler of “The Talk” to co-host the event, which was nationally sponsored by Bank of America and presented on the west coast by Chevron.

 

Photos:

Top photo:  Chelsea Handler presented an award at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards hosted by the International Women’s Media Foundation (photo: Charley Gallay/ Getty Images for IWMF)

Second photo: Presenter Maria Shriver onstage at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards hosted by the International Women’s Media Foundation (photo:  Jason Merritt/ Getty Images for IWMF

Third photo: Olivia Munn, who plays a television journalist on TV’s “The NewsRoom,” introduced one of the honorees at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards hosted by the International Women’s Media Foundation (photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images for IWMF)

Fourth photo: Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” with Jennifer Westfeldt, who read a column by the iconic journalist Molly Ivins at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards (photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images for IWMF)  

 

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2012 Courage in Journalism Awards

Published Oct 30, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA