J.J. Green, a national security correspondent with the WTOP Radio, has won the 31st 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.

Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2017 Recipient – J.J. Green (WTOP Radio)

This year, the award will be presented by Michael Ford, son of the late President Gerald R. Ford and Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on Monday, June 4, 2018, at The Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.

When announcing their decision to award J.J. Green the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2017, the judges issued the following statement:

“In the judges’ view, JJ Green’s series addressed one of the most critical national security issues of the year and for the future: Russia’s cyberattacks against American’s election infrastructure. At a time in which the debate over this existential threat to the country often devolves into partisan wrangling, Mr. Green stayed rigorously apolitical. He covered targets, tactics, and methods of Russia’s cyberattacks in the United States and engaged a range of national experts and leaders in the series.

Each segment contained an example that made the risk relatable. An odd petition to give Alaska back to Russia quickly garnered 40,000 signatures of support from Russian bots. A rumor campaign triggered by RT and Sputnik that a US base in Turkey had been overrun by terrorism was retweeted 4,000 times by Russian bots in just over an hour; A text alert hoax by Russian trolls warned residents in Louisiana to take shelter from a chemical explosion and toxic cloud.

Mr. Green managed to condense all this information into two-minute segments that were cohesive, informative, understandable, and interesting. He truly met the Foundation’s overarching goal of fostering better public understanding of the nation’s security. At the same time, Green leveraged the narrative power of his medium – radio – to give color to hard-hitting coverage of an issue with local, national, and global impacts.”

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.

This year’s winner:
JJ Green is the National Security Correspondent at WTOP. He reports daily on international security, intelligence, foreign policy, terrorism and cyber developments. He also provides regular on-air analysis and guidance on global security matters.

He joined WTOP on March 11, 2004, the same day of the Madrid bombing by al-Qaida. In the years since then, he has traveled widely, while investigating, reporting and analyzing the U.S. war against terrorism and has interviewed the leadership of all the key national security components of the U.S. government and many security and foreign government officials around the world.

He hosts the weekly program “The Hunt,” and conducts in-depth in-depth interviews with experts on ISIS, al-Qaida, the Taliban and other emerging terror threats.

He has worked expansively in the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe and Africa covering national security matters. He traveled by the U.S. Air Force in 2006, during the height of the Iraq War, 18,000 miles, to 10 countries in 31 days, covering the wars in Iraq, Africa, and Afghanistan.

In 2010 he returned to Afghanistan and Iraq, while embedded to cover the war efforts.

He’s reported from Kandahar, Zabul province, and Kabul, in Afghanistan. In Israel, he spent time in the Golan Heights, Israel’s borders with Syrian and Lebanon, and Gaza. He’s interviewed intelligence, military, and political officials about the conflict there and the prospects for peace, and the roadblocks. He saw the weaponry Hamas and Hezbollah use, visited Israel’s military headquarters for briefings on their challenges and approaches to dealing with them.

He’s spent significant periods of time in North Africa, in Morocco and Western Sahara each year since 2014 investigating the origins and ideology of the terrorism problems facing the region.

Since 2016, he’s dedicated many months investigating growing Russian espionage networks, operatives, and plots in the U.S. and beyond.

He is the recipient of a National Edward R. Murrow Award (2009) for “Hidden Hunter” -his reporting aboard a nuclear powered, Los Angeles Class submarine underway in the Atlantic Ocean. He also won the prestigious Associated Press Douglas S. Freeman award for his investigative series, “Dignity Denied,” which explored decades of neglect at America’s hallowed Arlington National Cemetery.

He has also won more than a two dozen regional and local awards since he started working at WTOP. In 2012, he was honored by the University of Maryland, University College as their commencement speaker, in recognition of his broad body of national security reporting accomplishments. He’s also been recognized by top national security officials for his deep knowledge of international affairs and ability to succinctly analyze complex issues.

In addition to his work at WTOP, JJ regularly lectures at universities and colleges on national security issues and often speaks to U.S. government, military and national security organizations. He is also a contributor to Jane’s Intelligence Review magazine.

Before joining team WTOP, he traveled to and reported on the events, issues, people and places of Africa, Latin America, and Europe for the six years on public and international television. He began his career in Washington in 1989 at WMAL radio. In the mid-1990s he was trained as a TV correspondent at ABC News’ “Nightline.” Later he worked as a general assignment part-time correspondent at CNN. In the late 90s, he was brought on at CSPAN as weekend host of the Washington Journal. In 1998, JJ began working as a correspondent for the Voice of America Television on Window on America and as host and correspondent of Africa Journal while traveling there frequently until he joined WTOP in 2004.

JJ graduated magna cum laude from Hampton University. He’s fluent in Spanish, speaks working level French and is studying Korean. An avid athlete, he is an accomplished speed skater, a regular runner, and swimmer, cross trainer and is an expert kickboxer.

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

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