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A newspaper reporter covering one of the most dangerous beats in the world—Mexican drug cartels and associated mayhem—will receive Colby College’s Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism Sept. 26.
Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, is regarded as the most intrepid reporter on that beat, according to members of the Lovejoy Selection Committee. He has broken news about drug dealers and organized crime, disappearances and deaths of women in Juarez, police and government corruption, and the spillover of violence across the border into Dallas and other Texas cities.
He has written about the war against journalists waged by the drug traffickers and corrupt officials, and he has described perils that journalists face and the disturbing result: a Mexican press going silent. He also has covered immigration and Mexican politics.
Corchado has endured threats to his life, including while he was reporting about journalist kidnappings. He has been forced to leave Mexico at times and takes special precautions, but he continues to write about the conflict on the U.S-Mexico border. Born in Durango, Mexico, he grew up in California and Texas. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso who now resides in Mexico City but calls the border home.
A 2009 Neiman fellow at Harvard and a 2010 Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Corchado won the Maria Moors Cabot award from Columbia Journalism School in 2007 for extraordinary bravery and enterprise. He will spend several days on campus to interact with students and the community.
The Lovejoy Award has been given annually since 1952 to honor courage in journalism. It honors the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Colby’s valedictorian in 1826 and a passionate abolitionist publisher who was killed in Alton, Ill., in 1837 for condemning slavery. He is considered America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.
Corchado was chosen to receive the 2010 Lovejoy Award by a selection committee that includes Ann Marie Lipinski, former editor of the Chicago Tribune; Rebecca Corbett, deputy Washington bureau chief for the New York Times; Gregory Moore, editor of the Denver Post; Mike Pride, editor emeritus and columnist for the Concord Monitor; David Shribman, vice president and executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Professor L. Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby.
Previous winners of the award include Paul Salopek (2009), who was imprisoned while reporting from Darfur; Anne Hull of the Washington Post (2008), who exposed the healthcare scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Jerry Mitchell (2006), whose reporting brought Ku Klux Klansmen to justice for civil rights murders; Daniel Pearl (2002, posthumous); David Halberstam (1997); and Katherine Graham (1973), publisher of the Washington Post during Watergate.