James Kitfield, national security and foreign affairs correspondent for the National Journal, has won the 22nd annual Gerald R. Ford 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 award was presented by Jack Ford, son of the late President Gerald R. Ford and chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at a National Press Club luncheon on June 1, 2009. Following the presentation of the award, former Vice President Richard Cheney addressed the audience.
When announcing their decision to award James Kitfield the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2008, the judges issued the following statement.
“The judges are pleased to report the selection of James Kitfield of the National Journal as the winner of the
Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.
Although the entries this year were particularly strong, Mr. Kitfield, in the view of the judges, hit a home run with each submission. The quality and breadth were extraordinary; providing a tour d’horizon of the critical issues of our times — from the counter-insurgency in Afghanistan to the strategic significance of Pakistan to breakout from the nuclear non-proliferation regime to the dangers of stumbling into confrontation with Russia. Each was superbly written to guide readers through a web of complex concepts and relationships.
As important, the judges believe that Mr. Kitfield tackled these topics in real time — not summarizing what had occurred retrospectively but creating a context and assessment of events as they were unfolding.
The judges would like to commend Mr. Kitfield for a body or work that was consistently strong, penetratingly relevant, and written to help Americans understand the intricacies of the global risks and realities the nation now faces.”
The judges for this year’s contest were:
Chair, Debra van Opstal, Senior Vice President, Policy and Programs at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, and secretary to the Board of Directors; Robert Holzer, public outreach and engagement support to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and recipient of the 1998 Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense; Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies where he serves as director of the Global Strategy Institute; Frank Hoffman, Research Fellow at the Marine Corps Center for Threats and Opportunities and nonresident Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute; and David M. Olive, Principal at Catalyst Partners with more than 30 years experience in business, politics, law, and public affairs, including establishment of The Washington Homeland Security Round Table.