Northwestern honors AP's Jon Katz for Haiti work

AP News
Posted: Apr 05, 2011 7:27 PM
Northwestern honors AP's Jon Katz for Haiti work

An Associated Press reporter who provided the world with first word that a powerful earthquake had devastated Haiti last year has been honored by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism for his courage in reporting on the disaster.

Jonathan M. Katz _ the only U.S. correspondent in Haiti when a magnitude-7.0 quake destroyed much of the Caribbean country on Jan. 12, 2010 _ ran out of the AP's house in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince as it collapsed around him, then borrowed a phone to tell the world what had happened.

One of the judges of the 2010 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, People magazine founding editor Richard Stolley, said Katz "defines journalistic courage" for his assignment in Haiti.

"He stayed during severe aftershocks, a deadly cholera epidemic and dangerous political turmoil," Stolley said as the award was announced Monday. "And throughout, he filed brilliant stories to AP."

Katz's reports on how squalid conditions at a United Nations camp led to a deadly cholera epidemic prompted the U.N. to appoint an independent panel to examine the issue.

"Jon lived this story like few of us live the stories we tell. And he wrote pieces along the way that put us right there next to him," said AP Europe Editor Niko Price, who was the news cooperative's Latin America and Caribbean editor at the time of the quake.

The Medill courage medal is given annually to a journalist or team of journalists working for a U.S.-based media outlet who "best displayed moral, ethical or physical courage" in doing their job, the university said. Finalists included Joshua Kors for "Disposable Soldiers," an article in The Nation about veterans' health care; and Linda Vazquez for editorials in the Arizona Republic opposing the state's immigration law.

Katz earned a bachelor's degree in history from Northwestern in 2002 and a master's degree in journalism in 2004 from Medill.