James Goodman Wins 2019 David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism

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April 14, 2020, 3:10 pm

For 30 years, David Nyhan was a columnist and reporter at The Boston Globe. He was a Shorenstein Fellow in the spring of 2001. The Nyhan Prize honors a journalist who embodies David’s commitment to challenging the powerful and acting as a voice for those whose voices are seldom heard. The award is sponsored by the Shorenstein Center and is made possible by the generosity of the Nyhan family and many friends.

The award carries a prize of $2,500, and is usually conferred at a ceremony at Harvard Kennedy School, often in conjunction with the annual Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics. This year, that event was scheduled for April 14, 2020, but due to the coronavirus outbreak it has been postponed to Fall of 2020. The Shorenstein Center and the Nyhan family are nevertheless honored to celebrate the career and work of this year’s Nyhan Prize winner:

This year’s Nyhan Prize goes to James Goodman, columnist and reporter for The Progressive magazine, and previously a writer, for 34 years, for local newspapers in Rochester, New York.

James Goodman’s journalism career has been dedicated to telling the stories of victims of injustice. Currently, he writes about immigration for The Progressive. Previously, Goodman spent three decades on the staff of Gannett newspapers in Rochester, New York, where he wrote in-depth articles for the Democrat and Chronicle on such issues as student debt, race relations and the emergence of African Americans as a political force, the legacy of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, and the plight of undocumented immigrants. At the Rochester Times-Union he wrote editorials on topics including climate change, unfairness in the criminal justice system, and the infringement of immigrant rights. Goodman has also written for The Nation and Justice Watch. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin and a MA in European History from Harvard University. His first job in journalism was as a freelance reporter writing about European politics for his hometown paper, the Milwaukee Journal.

About his work for The Progressive covering immigration in the United States, Goodman says,

I have been struck by the determination of immigrants who, fleeing persecution, come to the United States with high hopes but end up in a Kafkaesque detention system, which has proved to be inhumane and intimidating. Many have gone through so much but refuse to give up. They have maintained an inspirational dignity and steadfastness that has become a driving force behind today’s sanctuary movement, rallying communities, large and small, behind them. My articles have attempted to detail this resistance.

In nominating Goodman for the prize, his editor noted,

His considerate writing and careful research give voice to people frequently written about but not well represented.

This quality connects his work directly with David Nyhan’s legacy of giving a voice to the voiceless, and acting as the “conscience of his community.”

We look forward to celebrating James Goodman’s prize and career at the rescheduled ceremony next fall.