Trustee Carla A. Hills (L) and Foundation Chairman Red Cavaney (R) with the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2016 to Mary Walsh and David Martin

David Martin, a national security correspondent, and Mary Walsh, a national security producer with the CBS News, has won the 30th 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 30th Annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prizes for Distinguished reporting in 2016 will be presented by Red Cavaney, Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on Monday, June 5, 2017, at The Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C.

When announcing their decision to award David Martin and Mary Walsh the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2016, the judges issued the following statement:

“In their stories on how American servicemen cope with the consequences of battle – whether the wounds are visible or not — David Martin and Mary Walsh put a human face on both pain and determination. No one could fail to be moved by the resilience of Marine veteran, John Peck, who lost all four limbs to an IED in Afghanistan and was undergoing an arm transplant or by Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha who made the bitter choices of fighting in a remote Afghani battleground real, even for those who have never seen battle.

The judges believe that the CBS submission, The New Cold War, admirably served the fundamental objective of the Ford Prize: to foster a better understanding of the critical issues and complexities of national defense. For those who may have thought the Cold War was over – or had given way to emerging threats like cyberwarfare or terrorism – the CBS coverage dispelled any illusions. The team explained compellingly why the nuclear missions remain critical – tying it to changes in Russia’s aggressiveness on land (sending undercover Russian soldiers to invade Crimea), an increase in the size and frequency of Russia’s nuclear strategy and in changes in Russian military doctrine that approve the first use of smaller tactical weapons. At the same time, they pointed to the resumption of American B-52 flights over the North Pole – the first such flights in decades. The team was also resourceful – gaining access for their cameras to sophisticated technologies and installations as well as to the senior leaders and strategists and showing what an enormous burden of responsibility they carry.”

This year’s winners:
David Martin has been CBS News’ national security correspondent, covering the Pentagon and the State Department, since 1993. In that capacity, he has reported virtually every major defense, intelligence and international affairs story for the “CBS Evening News,” as well as for other broadcasts, including “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours.” He also contributed to “60 Minutes Wednesday.”

During the invasion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, Martin’s in-depth knowledge of how the State Department, intelligence community and military operate, both on the battlefield and in Washington positioned him as the “big picture” reporter for CBS News. Utilizing his own sources and reports from CBS News correspondents in the region and around the world, as well as in Washington, he explained and assessed the military’s strategies and operations for viewers.

Martin broke several significant stories before and during the Iraq war. He was the first to report on the opening night of the war, that the U.S. was launching a strike on a palace bunker in southern Baghdad in an attempt to take out Saddam Hussein. Martin also broke the story of the military’s “shock and awe” strategy for its initial strike on Baghdad. During a trip to Iraq in May 2003, he was the first journalist to visit and report on Dora Farms, where Saddam was said by the CIA to have been hiding on the opening night of the war.

Martin has received several Emmys, most recently in 2012 for his story “Starting Over.” He has also received two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards (2002 and 2004) for his body of work, most of which has appeared on the “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes Wednesday.”
Regarding the first Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, the award committee said that his “consistently excellent reporting on the beat of national security hit its peak this year….break[ing] news on a wide range of defense and security stories with details that only experience and doggedness can ferret out. This is exemplary reporting that repeatedly breaks through the barriers of official statements.”

In awarding the second DuPont, the committee said, “David Martin’s reports on the Pentagon, the military build-up to the Iraq war and on the war itself demonstrate his exceptional grasp of national security issues. Teamed with his long-time producer, Mary Walsh, Martin consistently breaks new information with clear reporting on the Pentagon’s goals. He exemplifies the role of a journalist: to measure what we are being told against what we find out.”
Martin also received the 2004 Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs and public policy reporting awarded by the Washington Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association.

He joined CBS News as its Pentagon correspondent in 1983. Martin’s duties later expanded to include the State Department and intelligence beats.
Before that, he covered defense and intelligence matters for Newsweek magazine from its Washington bureau (1977-83). Martin was a reporter with the Associated Press in Washington (1973-77), covering the FBI and CIA. He also was a member of the AP special assignment team (1977).
Martin began his journalism career as a researcher for CBS News in New York in 1969. He then became a news writer with the AP broadcast wire (1971-72) and a fellow at the Washington Journalism Center (1973).

Martin is the author of two books, “Wilderness of Mirrors” (Harper & Row, 1980), an account of the secret wars between the CIA and KGB, and “Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America’s War Against Terrorism” (Harper & Row, 1988).

He was born July 28, 1943, in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Yale University in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in English. During the Vietnam War, Martin served as an officer aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer.

Martin and his wife, Dr. Elinor Martin, live in Chevy Chase, Md. They have four children.

Mary Walsh is the national security producer for CBS News; her work includes producing stories for the CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. She has been assigned to the Pentagon since 1993 and has covered the American military all over the United States and in many parts of the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Turkey, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Germany, the Philippines, and Korea.

As CBS News producer in Tokyo from 1989 to 1993, Walsh was responsible for news coverage in all parts of Asia – with a focus on China, Korea, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan. She was based in New York in 1987-89 and Atlanta in1985-87. Highlights from those years include covering the explosion of space shuttle Challenger, the bombing of Pan Am 103 and too many hurricanes to count.

Walsh began her career at CBS News in 1979 as assistant to the Political Director in Washington D.C. She covered Geraldine Ferraro’s vice presidential campaign in 1984 and Vice President George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 1988.

She has won two Alfred I. DuPont awards from Columbia University, five Emmy awards, an Overseas Press Club Award, the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for Excellence in Journalism, a Wilber Award from the Religious Communicators Council, the University of Texas School of Communication 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award and the 2013 Rosalie Wynn Hearst Distinguished Public Service Award.

A graduate of the University of Texas where she was editor of the Daily Texan, Walsh began her career as a journalist at the Rome Daily American in Italy in 1977.

Walsh has also contributed to two books:

Norwood, A. E., Walsh, M. E., and Owen, P.: Journalists and traumatic stress, in The Human Journalist: Reporters, Perspectives, and Emotions. J. Willis (Ed.) Praeger, Westport, CT (2003)

Walsh, M. E., Norwood, A. E., and Hall, M. J.: The 2001 anthrax attacks and the media, in Bioterrorism: Psychological and Public Health Interventions. Ursano, R. J., Norwood, A. E., and Fullerton, C. S.. (Eds.) Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (2004)

For more information about the annual prize or previous winners contact:
Joe Calvaruso
Executive Director
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353
(616) 254-0397,
or visit our website at

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This