LOS ANGELES PRESS CLUB

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DANIEL PEARL AWARD NEWS

Click here for previous winners of the Daniel Pearl Award

  • Monday, August 31, 2015 4:24 PM | Anonymous


    "Art of Resistance" by Devra Maza on the Huffington Post features Daniel Pearl Award Inspired Interview With Judea Pearl and Charlie Hebdo's Antonio Fischetti

    It’s the prize no one should have to win. When The Daniel Pearl Award was presented to the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, everyone who rose to applaud knew it came at a terrible cost... Read the article here.

  • Wednesday, July 01, 2015 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    After a devastating terrorist attack, much of the world voiced their support for the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo with three words: "Je Suis Charlie" (I Am Charlie).

    Just days later, the survivors went to press with a cover that added three more words to the conversation: "Tout Est Pardonné" (All Is Forgiven).

    Even in their darkest hour, Charlie Hebdo provided a beacon of light for journalists everywhere. Their resilience demonstrated how violence cannot endure, while free speech must. They embodied the courage and integrity that the Daniel Pearl Award was created to honor.

    Judea Pearl, Daniel's father, presented the award to Charlie Hebdo's Antonio Fischetti at the 57th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards. The event, held by the Los Angeles Press Club on June 28, 2015 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, included powerful speeches from both men, which can be seen in the video above. A full transcript provided by Pearl is below, followed by a partial transcription of Fischetti's acceptance speech.

    Full transcript provided by Judea Pearl:

    Friends, colleagues, distinguished guests, 

    Before we get to the business of presenting the 14th Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism, I would like to thank the LA Press Club for instituting this annual Award in memory of our son, Danny, and to acknowledge the presence of a few special guests: (1) the French deputy consul general,  (2) Ms. Saher Baloch, a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellow, who is visiting us from Pakistan and, (3) Last, but not least, Mr. Antonio Fischetti, representing the staff of Charlie Hebdo Magazine, to whom we have the honor of giving tonight’s Award .

    Friends, This is the 14th year in a row that I stand here before you and philosophize on the nature of courage, the anatomy of integrity, and the noble side of journalism. 

    For 14 year in a row I ask you, and the recipients of this award: Where do you get the audacity to assume that you have the right to unveil the stories that you do? Or to publish a story the way you see it?

    This year, there is no need for philosophy.

    There is no place for such hypothetical questions.

    We all understand tonight what courage and integrity mean, as we stand here and remember, not only the fatal day of January 7, 2014, but also the many months before, how the editors and staff of Charlie Hebdo stood firm, under threats, sometimes alone, often criticized by their own peers, and own countrymen, and defended a value that all of us cherish in our heart, without which we can’t even begin to imagine our lives.

    Freedom   Of    Expression 

    Pat Morrison wrote that the January 7th massacre in Paris was a turning point in the history of Journalism. On that day, she quoted Mr. Fischetti as saying “they tried to eliminate not just a single reporter, or a single editor but a whole newspaper. They decided to eradicate this symbol of freedom that was Charlie."

    Our son's murder was another turning point for journalists. When he was abducted, in 2002, journalists used to enjoy an aura of protection. The millions of people who were praying with us for his safe return kept assuring us:

    "They will not dare harm him. After all, he is a journalist."

    This was the world in 2002.

    Who could imagine that 14 years later, journalists will become the most common target of violence. Who could imagine that 14 years later, international terrorism will become so much stronger than it was in 2002.

    What is important to notice is that, since 2002, the UN could not even bring itself to define what terrorism is. The first rule of war is that you must define your enemy, without which the war is lost at the start.

    Unfortunately, we, in the free world have not succeeded in defining the enemy. We have refused to admit that our enemy is not militant organizations such as Al Qaida or the Taliban but an OVERARCHING IDEOLOGY that licenses such groups to elevate their grievances above the norms of civilized society. In that we failed.

    Even the Fort Hood Shooting we labeled “Workplace Violence”

    It was much easier to fight Al-Qaida than to deal with a theologically-based ideology that propagates invisibly through the internet.

    I heard Lord Rabbi Sack give a speech the other day, in Jerusalem, saying that the violence and turbulence we are witnessing is a defining moment for civilization, which, in many ways resembles the religious wars of the 16th 17th century in Europe, after the invention of the printing press. (The Internet of Guttenberg).

    Such a war, he claims, can only be fought by religious leaders. For several reasons:

    1. The enemy is motivated by theology, thru and thru.

    2. The West is not good in understanding the psychology of theology. Religious leaders do.

    3. All religions are currently victims of this war.

    Christians are persecuted in Syria and Iraq. Moderate Muslims are being killed everywhere, from Kuwait, to Tunis to Pakistan. The Bahais are persecuted in Iran. Not to speak about the Jews who cant cross the street in Europe, even in France.

    In times like that, said Rabbi Sacks, the solution can only come from religious leaders.

    I agree with his diagnosis but not with the prognosis. Why? Because religion is dead in the West, it lost its grip on our souls. We love our religious leaders, but we do not take them seriously;

    So, Who DO we take seriously?

    Not our politicians, of course, so WHO?

    You guessed right! Our journalists!!

    Think about it. Who serves today as the modern-day equivalent  of yesterday’s  clerics? Who does the public entrust to serve as the moral compass of society, and, like the ancient prophets, risk his/her life by exposing corruption, institutional injustice, dishonesty and terrorism?

    -- The Journalist.

    I therefore believe that the war on terrorism will be won, not by  Priests, Rabbis and Imams, but by  journalists like Charlie Hebdo, standing together  in the protection of our freedom.

    Mr. Fischetti, your brave colleagues at Charlie Hebdo, its editors and staff have been protecting our freedoms for many years – alone --,  it is now our duty to protect their vision for generations to come. Please convey our condolences to the families of the victims and please accept the 14th Daniel Pearl Award as a symbol of our commitment to stand by you and by the values of your brave colleagues.

    Thank you.


    Partial transcription of Antonio Fischetti's speech:

    Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists were killed for using humor to denounce Islamist terrorism. In this regard, I would like to clarify some points against some people who accuse us of Islamophobia.

    We have always been careful to make a difference between criticism of terrorists and all Muslims. Similarly, we make the difference between satire of all religions (which is part of the blasphemy law guaranteed by the French law, which we see as a pillar of democracy) and defamation of individuals [resulting from] racism (against which we have always fought).

    We have always believed that if we deviated from our beliefs, the terrorists would move forward.

  • Wednesday, July 01, 2015 8:58 AM | Anonymous

    The Staff of Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo Accepts the Daniel Pearl Award

    By Patt Morrison

    To this very day, and throughout the world—and often in the farther reaches of the world, whether a firefight in Syria or a park in Guatemala—journalists are getting murdered just for being journalists and practicing their craft.

             But on Jan. 7, 2015, murder happened not one by one, not in places far from the international seats of power, but to nine journalists killed at once, all shot to death, and four others wounded, on the second floor of a placid office building in the vibrant heart of one of the most fabled and civilized cities in the world—Paris.

             These were murders directed not only at human beings, but at what those human beings practiced and stood for: the principle of free speech.

    The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo long prided itself on being an equal opportunity offender, leveling its satirical barbs and cartoons at power, pomposity and hypocrisy wherever they were found, in places secular and religious.

             Charlie Hebdo is no modern-day anomaly. It is the inheritor of a tradition of satire deeply embedded in French culture, in centuries of writers and performers. The magazines that were the immediate precursors of Charlie Hebdo were born, were banned, disappeared, sued, were firebombed and hacked, threatened, and at last reborn.

             The staff of Charlie Hebdo is the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club’s Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.

             At Charlie Hebdo, threats were no anomaly, either. The magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, was among the dead, as was his police bodyguard. Charbonnier had told the French newspaper Le Monde several years before that his cartoons shocked “those who will want to be shocked… I don’t feel as though I’m killing someone with a pen… I’m not putting lives at risk. When activists need a pretext to justify their violence, they always find it.”

             Extremists had firebombed the magazine’s Paris office in 2011, after the publication of an issue editors sardonically said had been “guest-edited” by the prophet Muhammad. Thereafter, the paper had moved to the location where the killers attacked this year.

             After the January 2015 attack, the swell of support for Charlie Hebdo’s staff, and for the free speech rights it practices, was instantaneous. It was also international. The hashtag #jesuisCharlie leaped to the top of Twitter.

             In September 2001, after the terrorist attacks on the United States, Le Monde had written forcefully that “we are all Americans.” Now, millions proclaimed, they too were French, they were Charlie.

             With signs, with candles, with song, and with pens and pencils held aloft, the French massed in their cities and towns by the hundreds of thousands to show their support of free speech and defiance of those who would try to kill it. The message was also spread in cities across the globe.

             Novelist Salman Rushdie, who knows what it’s like to wear a target, wrote in the Guardian newspaper after the attacks: “Stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”

             Cartoonists the world over paid tribute to their professional kin with cartoons of their own proclaiming the pen’s enduring might over the sword: an automatic weapon arrayed against a mass of pencils; the Statue of Liberty, a French gift to the United States, cradling a copy of Charlie Hebdo in her arm; a masked terrorist cutting off the head of a pencil only to see a hundred more spring up in its place.

             The week following the attacks, Charlie Hebdo was published on schedule, not with its usual 60,000 copies, but ultimately with a press run of as many as 5 million, the revenue going to the families of the victims.

             Its cover: the headline “All is forgiven,” and a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, holding a sign reading, “Je Suis Charlie.”

             Charlie Hebdo journalist Antonio Fischetti, who had been attending a funeral when his colleagues were murdered, told the Liberation newspaper right after the attacks, “They wanted to completely eradicate a newspaper. This is not ‘just’ kill the editor. There are no words. This is really an act of war. All for drawings… Charlie had a mission, supported by some, opposed by others. I am even more aware today how important this fight is. We were all in agreement that we should not give in. But they decided to eradicate this symbol of freedom that was Charlie.”

             In fact, that still is “Charlie,” as the murders meant to intimidate have only served to steel the resolve and unity of journalists. Fischetti is here representing his colleagues, living and dead, to accept the Pearl Award.

             The award was named for the Southern California journalist and Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered in the line of duty in 2002, investigating Al Qaeda links to the shoe-bomber terrorist Richard Reid. Since that year, and beginning with Daniel Pearl himself, the award has been given to those who epitomize courage and integrity in journalism.

             Those are traits clearly displayed in the work the staff of Charlie Hebdo did before Jan. 7, and the work the magazine continues to do today.



  • Monday, January 12, 2015 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    HOLLYWOOD, CA January 12, 2015: The Los Angeles Press Club is proud to announce that the 2015 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism will go to Charlie Hebdo.

    “We are deeply honored. Of course, we’ll accept," said Gerard Biard, Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo.

    “No act of terrorism can stop freedom of speech. Giving the Daniel Pearl Award to Charlie Hebdo is a strong message to that effect,” said LA Press Club President Robert Kovacik of NBC4 Southern California.

    Since 2002 the Los Angeles Press Club in conjunction with Judea and Ruth Pearl, the parents of slain Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, have handed out the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.

    The 2015 award will be presented by Judea and Ruth Pearl at an Awards Gala Dinner at the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28th. Past recipients include Richard Engel, Anna Politkovskaya and Bob Woodruff.

    The LAPC is one of the oldest and most respected journalist organizations in the nation with a storied history of honoring the most celebrated reporters of the past century. 


    The Los Angeles Press Club continues to uphold its tradition of excellence in the face of ever declining budgets and threats to freedom of speech.

    “We grieve and stand united with the French people, and with the families of all victims of the Paris massacre. We are humbled by their sacrifice which has re-awakened the world to a deadly peril that must be confronted and eliminated.

    The brave hearts of Charlie Hebdo have been protecting our freedoms for several decades -- alone, it is now our duty to protect their vision for generations to come -- together. The Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism symbolizes this commitment,” said Judea and Ruth Pearl in a joint statement.


  • Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    Veteran Middle East Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh Receives the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage in Journalism


    It’s safe to say that Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli- Arab journalist and documentary filmmaker, has had a career unlike anyone in the room at tonight’s Southern California Journalism Awards. While many journalists have garnered enemies for their hard-hitting reporting, few have had to live and work amid the unpredictable atmosphere of a heated Middle East.

    That work has earned Toameh the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism from the Los Angeles Press Club. The award is named for the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and then executed by Islamic radicalists in Pakistan in 2002.

    Currently a senior reporter for The Jerusalem Report, Toameh has produced documentaries on Palestine for the BBC and Australian and European television. He is known in part for his hard-hitting coverage unveiling Yassar Arafat’s connection to payments made to the armed wing of Fatah and financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority.

    Toameh, who lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children, is also the longtime Palestinian affairs pro- ducer for NBC News and the West Bank and Gaza cor- respondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report. Additionally, he writes for the Gatestone Institute, a non-profit international policy council and think tank in New York, where he is a senior adviser.

    An outspoken and controversial figure in the Mid- dle East, Toameh recently told Hadassah Magazine that the situation for journalists covering the West Bank and Gaza, “has become much more challenging and dangerous. The [Palestinian Authority] expects you to serve as an official spokesperson and avoid criticism of its leaders.”

    Yet, at the same time, he says his unusual role cov- ering the conflict thereundefinedas an Arab Muslim living in Israel and representing the Israeli pressundefinedopens him

    to “more threats from pro-Palestine students and academics in the U.S. than... from local Palestinians.”

    Toameh has felt many repercussions from his reporting. Last year, Facebook removed his profile in reaction to complaints about posts in which he issued strong criticisms of the Palestinian Authority and Jor- dan. A backlash forced Facebook to restore his page.

    In an op-ed following the incident, Toameh noted that, “During the past year alone, a number of Pales- tinian journalists and bloggers were arrested by West- ern-funded Palestinian Authority security services in the West Bank for criticizing the P.A. leadership on their Facebook pages.... It is the duty of Facebook and Western societies to side with those seeking freedom and not to be complicit in suppressing their voices.”

    Although attacked by critics as siding with Israel, Toameh insisted in his recent interview with Hadassah Magazine that he was operating impartially.

    “I am only reporting what many Arab journalists want to report,” he said. “If I resided in Ramallah, I would not be reporting many things. There are P.A. journalists who post critical things on Facebook and risk prison. Those who ask the wrong questions at press conferences are sometimes detained or even tortured.”

    Judea Pearl, the father of Daniel Pearl, and a noted artificial intelligence theorist and computer scientist, credited Toameh with revealing stories and situations many would otherwise never hear about.

    “Khaled Abu Toameh has been telling us, with courage and objectivity, what life is like in the West Bank and Gaza,” Pearl said. “Rarely has a reporter been so successful in penetrating a conflict so com- plex and remaining consistently and definitively on the side of truth.”

  • Tuesday, May 06, 2014 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning Arab-Israeli journalist and TV producer who has covered Palestinian and Arab affairs for the past three decades.Abu Toameh studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has worked for many media outlets, including BBC, VOICE OF AMERICA, WALL STREET JOURNAL and US NEWS & WORLD REPORT. He has also worked for THE JERUSALEM POST and currently serves as a Distinguished Fellow with the New York based Gatestone Institute think-tank.

    “Khaled Abu Toameh has been telling us, with courage and objectivity what life is like in the West Bank and Gaza. Rarely has a reporter been so successful in penetrating a conflict so complex and remaining consistently and defiant on the side of truth,” says Judea Pearl.

  • Sunday, June 23, 2013 3:52 PM | Anonymous









    In a Country Where Journalists Are Sometimes Killed, Daniel Pearl Award Winner Sandra Rodríguez Nieto Refuses to Back Down

    BY PATT MORRISON 

    THE HACKED-UP BODY of a young newspaper photographer, just hired to cover social events, turned up in a street in a town in Northern Mexico. Another newspaper photographer, this one working for the major daily El Diario, was murdered in 2010. And a reporter for El Diario was killed in 2008. Following the latter’s funeral cortege, one of his colleagues said that he didn’t want anyone to open his coffin at his funeral.

    Amid the thousands of people murdered in Mexico during the violence of the drug cartels, at least a dozen have been journal- ists, and a dozen more journalists have gone missing. Newspapers have installed bullet- proof walls and windows.

    Covering the drug violence is one of the most dangerous beats in the world. Rarely have these killings been seriously investigated-“carpetazo” is the word, filed away and forgot- ten. Even more rarely have they been solved.

    Some newspapers have stopped carrying bylines on their stories about the drug cartels in an effort to protect their staffs. Others have stopped covering the story altogether.

    That is not the case for Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2013 Daniel Pearl Award for courage in journalism.


    As Tracy Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times’ Mexico City bureau says of Rodriguez Nieto, “She was one of a handful of reporters (almost all women) who courageously tried to cover the news in Ciudad Juarez at the time of its worst violence. She wrote about the bad guys, the cartels and gangsters, but also and more importantly, perhaps, the victims, people whose relatives were slain or went missing.”

    She also, said Wilkinson, covered “the scourge of ‘femicides,’ the killing of women that became infamous in Ciudad Juarez.
    She covered corruption and the failure of authorities to investigate crimes or protect the citizenry. These may seem obvious or even mundane topics, but the dangers of writing about them in a place like Ciudad Juarez are enormous.”


    Rodriguez Nieto’s reporting led her to craft a victims’ database that revealed that most of the Juarez victims were young and poor, not drug cartel members, as Mexican officials claimed. Additionally, 98% were unarmed. And 97 times out of 100, their murders were never solved.

    Rodriguez Nieto is part of a group of journalists putting the world on notice about the plight of Mexican reporters who are threatened, intimidated, kidnapped or killedundefinedsometimes by drug traffickers and sometimes by local authorities.

    Despite the inherent danger, Rodriguez Nieto also aids others trying to cover the beat. She has been an international expert for visiting foreign journalists, offering advice and expertise about covering the bloody zone.

    Her latest book is La Fabrica del Crimen (The Crime Factory). She was recently announced as the winner of a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, where she will study methods to develop sustainable online journalism with a focus on transparency and government accountability in Mexico.

    Rodriguez Nieto is a fearless, one-woman encyclopedia on Mexico’s drug cartels. She knows how the competing organizations operate and how they keep out of the reach of the law. Her work has been repeatedly recognized: In 2010, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo presented her with its “Reporteros Del Mundo” award for her work covering a conflict zone.

    That same year, the Los Angeles Times named her a media hero for her reportage in one of the most dangerous cities on earth. She showed up for work every day, the story said, and in much of Mexico, that alone could be considered an audacious act.

    She holds a BA and a master’s degree from universities on both sides of the border. She received the Knight International Journalism award in 2011, and the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger award last year. 

    Rodriguez Nieto currently works for SinEmbargo.mx, but will be leaving for Harvard and the Nieman fellowship.

    She is tireless and fearless, and she is this year’s winner of the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. 

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2013 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    This year’s winner of the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism is Mexico’s Sandra Rodríguez Nieto. She has worked for El Diario de Juárez from 2003 to 2012 where she has courageously written about local government corruption and the failures in the judicial system. She has also written about immigration issues as well as the military deployment that turned Juarez into one of the most dangerous cities on earth. She has focused on how a lack of education and jobs drives thousands of young people into the brutal world of crime and drugs. Her reporting has revealed the organizational structure of competing drug cartels and their ability to evade law enforcement. She continually reports on the composition of warring gangs fighting for control of Juárez and how the alleged leaders have been out of reach of the authorities. She has also shed light on how various properties of these alleged drug kingpins remain uninvestigated.

    Among Rodríguez’s various efforts exposing the horror Mexican citizens endure, she has created databases to analyze the murders in Juárez. She found that most of the victims were teens and young people from the poorest neighborhoodsundefinedand not drug cartel members as officials claimed. Her analysis proved that 98 percent of the victims were unarmed and 97 percent of the killings remain unsolved.

    Mexican journalists are especially exposed as deadly attacks against them has become commonplace. The organization Article 19 estimates that 66 reporters have been murdered in Mexico, nine of them in the past 18 months. Since 2008, more than 10,000 people have been assassinated in Juárez alone. In the vast majority of cases the perpetrators have not been arrested. Two of her colleagues at El Diario – the reporter Armando Rodríguez, in 2008, and the photographer Luís Carlos Santiago, in 2010 – became victims of the murderous criminality.

    Her fearless pursuit of the truth has placed her in harm’s way on a daily basis. Rodríguez is haunted by visions of her own death: “The most recent occasion when I had the vision of my body, shot and left lying on the ground… I was in Islas Carolinas Street, one of the poorest areas of Juárez, in the western part of the city. As we walked between the dust and the stones…where many others had perished, I saw myself among them…”

    In 2010, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo presented her with the Reporteros Del Mundo award for her outstanding work covering a conflict zone. That same year, she made the Los Angeles Times’ Media Hero list for reporting in one of the most dangerous cities on earth.

    Rodríguez studied communication science at the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Juárez and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is co-author of “La Guerra por Juárez” (The War for Juarez, Temas de Hoy, 2009) and author of “La Fábrica del Crimen” (The Crime Factory, Temas de hoy, 2012). Her work in Juarez has been recognized with the Reporteros del Mundo Award (in Spain, 2010); with the Knight International Journalism Award in 2011 and with the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Award in 2012. She has also written for Reforma and La Jornada newspapers, Proceso magazine, New Internationalist Magazine and The Investigative Reporters and Editors Journal. She is currently collaborating with SinEmbargo.mx, a news reporting and opinion website in Mexico City.

  • Sunday, June 24, 2012 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    A Decade After Daniel Pearl's Death, His Parents Continue to Promote the Projects That Reflected His Passions

    By Anna Scott

    Ten years ago, the world was shaken by the death of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl. While Daniel’s story touched thousands, few have felt the loss more deeply than his parents, Judea and Ruth, and his then pregnant wife, Mariane. But they have not let the tragedy of Daniel’s death overshadow his extraordinary life. Through the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and individually, they continue to share his spirit with the world.

    The nonprofit foundation honors Daniel, who was not only a well-respected foreign correspondent but also an accomplished violinist and by all accounts a fun-loving soul, through myriad projects that reflect his passions. The organization’s story is an unlikely one of transcending tragedy to make some sense out of the senseless.

    It all began on Jan. 23, 2002, when Daniel was in Pakistan reporting a story about the Al Qaeda terrorist network’s financial ties. That evening, he kissed Mariane, also a journalist, goodbye and went to meet a source in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Though Daniel was known to be an extremely careful reporter, the source lured him into a trap, and he was abducted.

    For the next excruciating month, Daniel’s parents, wife and colleagues at the Journal bounced between hope and despair. All they saw or heard of him was in video footage released by his kidnappers. Efforts by the FBI and the Pakistani police failed to yield information on Daniel’s whereabouts. More than once, the family was told that Daniel’s body had been found, only to learn later that the reports were false. Daniel’s co-workers feared that if his parents’ Israeli background leaked out he would be in grave danger.

    Judea hails from the Orthodox Tel Aviv suburb of B’nai Brak. Ruth is from Baghdad, and came with her parents to Israel in 1951, where she later met Judea at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

    In what the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles described in 2006 as “a rare display of professional solidarity in the competitive media,” no outlets reported on the Pearls’ Israeli backgrounds until after Daniel’s death.

    Ruth told the Jewish Journal she held out hope in the weeks after her son’s abduction in part because Daniel’s “goodness shone through, and we couldn’t believe that his kidnappers could live with him for weeks and not be affected by it.”

    Then, on the morning of Feb. 21, 2002, the unthinkable happened. The family received the news that the kidnappers had released a gruesome video of Daniel’s murder by decapitation.

    Although Daniel and Mariane’s son Adam was born several months after his father’s death, it was six months from the time of the killing before Daniel’s parents were able to bury their son.

    Ruth told the Jewish Journal that at the time, “I felt that my life was over.” Yet she and Judea also felt something more powerful than grief: They felt driven to preserve that basic goodness Daniel possessed, and to share it with the world.

    “We refused to accept the idea that Danny’s contributions to the world as a journalist, as a musician, as a gentle human being was ended forever,” Judea told the Jewish Journal. So in the days after Daniel’s death, they funneled the various donations they’d received into a newly established nonprofit entity that would become the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

    Today, the Foundation sponsors multiple efforts in journalism, music and multicultural dialogue.

    In journalism, the foundation provides opportunities for young and older journalists alike. The Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship brings mid-career journalists from South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere to work for six months in a U.S. newsroom.

    For younger aspiring journalists, the Foundation offers training, internship and writing programs.

    The online Pearl Youth News service brings together students from all over the world to be trained by volunteer professionals and report, write and publish their own stories for the Internet. The program partners with school newspapers so they can publish articles by students all over the world.

    Before students can contribute to the news service, they must complete a certification program that teaches basic reporting skills, from ethics to developing sources and conducting interviews to building compelling articles.

    In music, the Foundation has created Daniel Pearl World Music Days, which fall during Daniel’s birthday month of October. The celebration has grown to include more than 8,900 performances in 119 countries.

    The Foundation also fosters respectful multicultural dialogue with the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding, a series of public conversations between UCLA professor Judea Pearl and Dr. Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University. The conversations, which cover ground as diverse as current news, religion and history, aim to improve relations between Muslim and Jewish communities.

    That kind of dialogue continues at the Daniel Pearl Lecture Series at UCLA and Stanford, featuring scholars, journalists and policy makers speaking on topics ranging from journalism and music to psychology and religion. The only rule for the speaking engagements, the Pearls insist, is that the tone remain civil and respectful.

    The influence of the reporter and the family has extended even further. In May 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act. The measure, which received bipartisan Congressional support, is intended to promote a free press around the world.

    Through all these efforts, Judea and Ruth have refused to allow Daniel’s untimely death to stand as a pure loss. By taking inspiration from his life, they continue to enlighten and provide opportunities for people all over the world who otherwise would never have known of their son and his remarkable life.

    It is not an easy road, Judea and Ruth have admitted in interviews. But knowing that what they do makes a positive impact in the areas their son cared about most passionately drives them to continue, day in and day out.

    Anna Scott is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Press Club.

  • Sunday, June 26, 2011 5:27 PM | Anonymous
    Richard Engel to Receive Daniel Peal Award 2011


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