Andrew deGrandpre, a senior editor with the Military Times network in Washington, DC, has won the 29th Annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. The $5,000 award recognizes journalists whose high standards for accuracy and substance help foster a better public understanding of National Defense.
The 29th Annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prizes for Distinguished reporting in 2015 will be presented by Red Cavaney, Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on Monday, June 6, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
When announcing their decision to award Andrew deGrandpre the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2015, the judges issued the following statement:
“In a year of compelling and diverse defense reporting entries, the judges selected Andrew deGrandpre of Military Times as the winner of the Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense for reporting in 2015. As we approach the 15th year of the United States military forces engaged in combat in Afghanistan – America’s longest war – this comprehensive series addressed the complicated issues that have emerged in what is known as a grey zone conflict. The investigative stories by Mr. deGrandpre explored the blurred lines between reality, perception, accusation, and missteps in the rush to judgement that characterize military operations today. In the “Task Force Violent” series, the Military Times reporter deftly described the formation and deployment of a new elite Marine Special Forces unit to Afghanistan, and the subsequent “wrongful branding” of these highly trained and dedicated men as suspected war criminals. Although they were cleared of charges that they had inflicted mass civilian casualties when ambushed on a routine patrol, their military careers, and their psychological well-being was forever scarred. Mr. deGrandpre’s investigative research brought to the fore the shortcomings of multiple bureaucratic systems that were intent on assigning immediate guilt in the absence of the full accounting of actual events. This series captivated the reader, and the judges believed it would appeal to any audience, regardless of familiarity with Special Operations Forces. It also captured the lack of clear lines of responsibility and chains of command in this lengthy, multi-dimensional conflict. The issue of crimes against innocent civilians by U.S. military forces had become so politically charged that any accusation was given full credence before the facts were known. Mr. deGrandpre’s dogged reporting offers a balanced account of the myriad factors contributing to the breakdown of the system and provides a vehicle to restore honor to the Marines of Task Force Violent. In the full reporting of this often tense subject, Military Times has documented and examined the complex paradoxes that define our own military times.”
This year winners:
Andrew deGrandpre is a senior editor with the Military Times network in Washington, DC, the largest independent media organization covering the U.S. Armed Forces. He oversees investigations and enterprise storytelling.
DeGrandpre has covered national security issues since 2004, with a focus on the United States Marine Corps. His most recent investigative project, “Task Force Violent: The unforgiven,” is a five-part series examining the U.S. military’s betrayal of an elite special operations unit whose personnel were falsely accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan. The work was recognized in 2016 with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.
As Marine Corps Times’ managing editor, a post he held from 2009 to 2014, deGrandpre led a months-long investigation into allegations the service’s top general abused his power to ensure several rank-and-file combat troops were punished for defiling enemy corpses. His team’s reporting, which raised troubling questions about the Pentagon’s willingness to thoroughly and objectively investigate a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, captured the attention of Congress and numerous mainstream media outlets. Consequently, Marine Corps Times was briefly removed from its sales location at Marine Corps Exchange stores worldwide; an order quickly reversed once the newspaper exposed the move was orchestrated in retaliation for its critical coverage of senior leadership. The effort was recognized in 2015 with the Military Reporters and Editors Association’s James Crawley Award.
Born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York, deGrandpre holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism, the latter from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation sponsors the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prizes for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency and Distinguished Reporting on National Defense to recognize and encourage thoughtful, insightful, and enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense. The Foundation is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation whose programs are supported entirely by contributions and bequests in an effort to honor President Ford’s sustained commitment to public service.
For more information about the annual prize or previous winners contact: Joe Calvaruso, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353, (616) 254-0397, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.geraldrfordfoundation.org.