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W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian with Carla A. Hills and Red Cavaney | View event photos on Flickr

The team of W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian, who report on national security issues for the Los Angeles Times, won the 28th 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 28th annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prizes for distinguished reporting in 2014 were presented by Foundation Chairman Red Cavaney and Foundation Trustee Carla A. Hills at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on June 1, 2015 at The Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C.

When announcing their decision to award W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2014, the judges issued the following statement:

“Hennigan and Vartabedian reported on the erosion of America’s nuclear arsenal: dated technologies – some from the dawn of the Cold War – whose costs are rising simply because of their obsolescence; rusting pipes and leaking roofs in America’s missile silos, low morale and scandal in the missile corps; bloated profits by contractors; and the lack of a strategy to modernize the force. Through their well-crafted and well-researched articles, the reporters made a convincing case that this decline of America’s nuclear capability represents an existential threat to the nation’s security.
Hennigan and Vartabedian made a compelling case that, far from being a relic of the cold war, the need for a deterrent is growing with “Moscow’s aggressive posturing on NATO’s frontiers”; when “North Korea, Pakistan, India are all working quickly to improve their nuclear arsenals and delivery systems”; and when “China is expected to be capable of delivering a nuclear strike anywhere in the continental U.S.”. The reporters raised awareness of this issue at both the technological and policy levels and helped further understanding of the long-term threats that confront America. Although their stories were written in 2014, the issue remains in the headlines today as the United States negotiates with Iran on its nuclear program.”

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, jcalvaruso@38foundation.org or visit our website at www.geraldrfordfoundation.org.

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