Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist Carol Guzy was awarded the 2019 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media on Monday, June 17 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Guzy, now a contract photographer for Zuma Press, is the only photojournalist to have won four Pulitzer Prizes in journalism. She was a Pulitzer Prize award winner in 1986, 1995, 2000 and as recently as 2011. She has covered deadly volcano eruptions in Colombia, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and a refugee crisis in Kosovo during her impactful career as a photographer for the Miami Herald as well as The Washington Post. In 2018, Guzy received the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, awarded each year “for the best publish photographic reporting from abroad.” The photojournalist was also named the Northern Short Course Photographer of the Year in 2019.
“Journalists are challenged not only to expose issues and report the news but also to find poetry in everyday lives and evoke empathy,” said Guzy. “It is deeply poignant to accept this prestigious honor. The Newseum has been like a second home and an integral part of my heart.”
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Guzy is the 33rd person to receive the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media, which recognizes lifetime achievement in the media industry. The award honors the late Al Neuharth, USA TODAY, Freedom Forum and Newseum founder, and is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, Newseum, Freedom Forum Institute and the University of South Dakota (USD). Neuharth, a South Dakota native, graduated in 1950 from USD with a degree in journalism.
“Carol Guzy stands with all of the Neuharth Award recipients as a leading figure in contemporary journalism and as an example for those who would follow in her footsteps,” said Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute. “She has an extraordinary ability to visually bring us those moments in time that explain, educate, illuminate — and that at times can emotionally shock us into action.”
Guzy’s photographs are currently on display in the Newseum’s Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, along with every other Pulitzer prize-winning photograph since the award’s inception in 1917.
The photojournalist has a long-standing history of supporting the Newseum and Institute’s important work to increase public understanding of a free press and the First Amendment. In 2018, she served on a panel to assist the Newseum’s exhibits team in selecting a curated set of award-winning images from the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, one of the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism contests in the world. Guzy’s recommendations contributed to the success of the Newseum’s 2018 “Pictures of the Year: 75 Years of the World’s Best Photography” exhibit.
Indira Williams Babic, director of photography and visual resources at the Newseum, commented on Guzy’s inclusion in this popular temporary exhibit, which showcased a photo from Guzy’s time covering Hurricane Andrew in 1993. “[The photo] is a scene of great devastation. You see the debris and where [there] used to be a house…the couple that owned the home is standing outside. They’re hugging, they’re embracing and they’re kissing. So there’s a great contrast between the devastation and destruction that is behind them and that affection that is between them, that shows that there is hope amidst the destruction,” Babic explained.
The award was presented to Guzy at an evening awards dinner during the weeklong Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual symposium at the Newseum that convenes the nation’s top high school students interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualities of “free spirit.” The conference, designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism as a career, began in 1999 and is funded by the Freedom Forum Institute and Freedom Forum.