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Al Jazeera English Receiving Award From Columbia Journalism School

The Columbia University School of Journalism is presenting its highest honor–the Columbia Journalism Award–to Al Jazeera English. AJE managing editor Al Anstey will accept the award at the 2011 commencement ceremony, where he will also address the graduating class.

The school’s faculty, which selects the awardees, voted for Al Jazeera English for the overall depth and quality of its peerless coverage of the ongoing protests in the Middle East. “Al Jazeera English has performed a great service in bringing the English-speaking world in-depth coverage of the turmoil in the Middle East.” said Dean Nicholas Lemann. “We salute its determination to get to the heart of a complicated story unfolding in countries where news has historically been difficult to cover.”

Usually the award is presented to an individual. This is only the second time that a show or organization has receieved the honor. In 1993 the award went to PBS’ “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.”

The announcement from Columbia, after the jump.

Columbia School of Journalism Selects Al Jazeera English as the 2011 Columbia Journalism Award Recipient

New York, NY (May 4, 2011) — Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism will bestow its highest honor, the Columbia Journalism Award, to Al Jazeera English. The award is given annually during the school’s commencement ceremony to recognize an individual or organization for “singular journalism in the public interest.”

The school’s faculty, which selects the awardees, voted for Al Jazeera English for the overall depth and quality of its peerless coverage of the ongoing protests in the Middle East. “Al Jazeera English has performed a great service in bringing the English-speaking world in-depth coverage of the turmoil in the Middle East.” said Dean Nicholas Lemann. “We salute its determination to get to the heart of a complicated story unfolding in countries where news has historically been difficult to cover.”

Al Anstey, managing editor of Al Jazeera English, will accept the award and speak to the graduating class of 2011. This is only the second time that the award is being given to an organization. The first news outlet to receive the Columbia Journalism Award was the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1993.

Past winners of the Columbia Journalism Award, established in 1958, include a roster of journalists whom the school’s faculty determines have made a significant, lasting contribution to the profession, including Walter Cronkite, Katharine Graham and Alejandro Junco de la Vega.

Also a regular part of the Journalism School’s annual commencement celebrations is the Pringle Lecture, given by a journalist whom the faculty deems has contributed important political coverage of Washington D.C. This year’s Pringle Lecture, held on May 17, will be delivered by Nate Silver, creator of the FiveThirtyEight.com website, which rose to prominence during the 2008 elections for its highly predictive statistical analysis. Silver now publishes his blog as part of the New York Times website, under the name FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus.

The lecture is named in memory of Henry Fowles Pringle, a long-time faculty member, Pulitzer Prize winner and reporter for The Washington Post. Past winners include a distinguished group of journalists who have covered Washington, D.C.

The school will confer degrees on over three hundred students who have completed a rigorous course of study, graduating with a master of arts, a master of science, or a Ph.D. degree.

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