“James Aronson was always a journalist ahead of his time. He was a media critic before there were journalism reviews. He was a defender of the rights of newspaper people before there were reporters’ committees. He was providing an alternative before there was an alternative press.”
–The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Award, 1975
The James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism was established by Hunter College in 1990 to honor the distinguished Hunter College professor of journalism and editor from 1949 to 1967 of the crusading news weekly, The National Guardian.
Before founding The National Guardian with Cedric Belfrage and Jack McManus, Aronson worked on the staffs of the Boston Evening Transcript, the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post and The New York Times.
A graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Aronson wrote four books, including The Press and the Cold War, published by Monthly Review Press.
The James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism honor original, written reporting that brings to light widespread injustices, their human consequences, underlying causes, and possible reforms. This includes exposing discrimination based on race, class, gender, religion or sexual orientation; economic exploitation; violations of human rights, civil liberties or free expression; environmental degradation; and brutality to civilians in war.
The awards recognize work published in English in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and text-based online publications based in the U.S. We are particularly interested in reporting with the potential to foster systemic change or to help bring those who abuse their power to justice. A separate prize, the Grambs Aronson Cartooning with a Conscience Award, recognizes the achievements of political cartoonists whose work focuses on social issues.
The Award is administered by the Hunter College Department of Film & Media Studies and an Awards Committee of journalists and media critics. The Award is presented each Spring at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Prize winners generally attend a question-and-answer session with students and an awards ceremony and reception. The Awards Committee solicits nominations from a large group of writers and editors across the country and through advertisements in journalism magazines. Citizens and individuals concerned about social justice journalism are also invited to make nominations. Individuals should submit one copy of the nominated work. Paid publications and professional authors should submit 15 copies.
Stories should have appeared in U.S. newspapers, magazines, newsletters or Internet publications between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of the year prior to the contest. Submissions should be received by Jan. 15 or the Monday following when that date falls on a weekend. See the entry form for further details. Send to Peter Parisi, Department of Film & Media Studies, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 212-772-5041.