CUNY J-School to Help Oversee an Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism

  • By Amy Dunkin

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism will become the new home of the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.  Family and friends of the distinguished international journalist who worked for Agence France-Presse, United Press International, and the Associated Press founded the award in 2008 to continue his work after his passing.

“We are delighted to help administer this important journalistic prize,” said Sarah Bartlett, dean of the CUNY J-School. “Many of our students are intent on pursuing international reporting, and the journalists honored at this event will serve as a tremendous inspiration to them.”

Over the last nine years, the Peter Mackler Award has recognized journalists from Sri Lanka, Russia, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, Burundi and Mexico, all countries where the practice of journalism requires considerable courage.

“Every year at the award ceremony, listening to what these reporters have to go through just to do their jobs, is a revelation to me,” said veteran U.S. reporter Richard Sisk, who worked with Mackler at UPI.

The CUNY J-School will host the annual event to honor the winner and introduce him or her to a network of newsmakers as well as future journalists interested in international reporting.

Other partners in the award are Reporters without Borders and Agence France-Presse.

At the time of his death in June 2008, Mackler was chief editor for North America at Agence France-Presse. In 29 years at AFP, he also served as chief editor in Asia, desk chief in Paris, director for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, senior correspondent for Europe, senior international correspondent, and Iraq war coordinator.

As a reporter, he covered both Gulf wars; the conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan; the Palestinian intifada; the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and presidential elections from the United States to the Philippines.

Before joining AFP, Mackler wrote about crime and politics for UPI and the AP in his hometown of New York City.

Mackler was also active in media training for 15 years. In 1999, he created the Project Plato for the Duke Ellington School in Washington DC, teaching journalism as a life skill to young people. In 2004, he founded Global Media Forum (GMF,) a consortium of top international reporters dedicated to media training. After his death, the Mackler family transformed GMF into Global Media Forum Training Group (GMFTG,) a not-for profit dedicated to the promotion of good journalistic ethics and courage under pressure.