SPJ honors Lewis with Distinguished Service Award

Charles Lewis Lewis receives the SPJ Distinguished Service Award.To his left: journalist Jonetta Rose Barras, a Hall of Fame inductee, and broadcaster and master of ceremonies Jim Bohannon.

The Washington, D.C., chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored Charles Lewis with the 2016 Distinguished Public Service Award, presented Tuesday night at the National Press Club in Washington.

Former Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie wrote Lewis’ introduction, which was read by Stephen Taylor, a freelance reporter and producer for Fox News Radio and a former correspondent for ABC News, because Downie was unable to attend. “Although I have known him for decades now, it is hard for me to believe that Chuck Lewis is only one person,” Downie wrote. “Perhaps among his almost endless lists of accomplishments, he has also succeeded in cloning himself.”

Downie cited Lewis’ work at ABC News and CBS News “60 Minutes,” as well as his founding of the Center for Public Integrity. Under his leadership there, the Center produced 300 investigative reports, including 14 books. Dowie said Lewis “helped pioneer nonprofit investigative journalism in the United States and around the world.”

Lewis wrote about his travel, advising and speaking to other nonprofit reporting groups and startups for the Investigative Reporting Workshop recently. In “The New Newsrooms,” he notes that since 2009, he has spoken at 23 conferences in 14 countries on five continents. Lewis, who founded the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, which produces in-depth work and partners with other media outlets to do so, also is the author of “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity,” published in 2014.

“Chuck Lewis is a muckraker in the finest and fiercest sense of that term, a generous mentor, an industry leader, an influential scholar, a prolific author and an outstanding citizen,” Downie wrote.