WATERVILLE — Eight journalists whose phone records were seized by the U.S. Department of Justice will be honored Friday by Colby College with the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.

The recipients are Washington Post writers Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, who now is at The New Yorker; New York Times reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Lichtblau, who now is a freelance writer; and Barbara Starr of CNN.

Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times. Photo courtesy of Colby College

Colby College will host a conversation on campus Friday at 4 p.m. with Apuzzo and Goldman about their phone calls being targeted by the government, according to a Colby news release. Nancy Barnes, senior vice president and editorial director at NPR and a member of the Lovejoy Award Selection Committee, will moderate the discussion, which also will be live-streamed.

The Lovejoy event, open to the public, will be held under a tent on the Colby Green and will start with remarks by Colby President David A. Greene, who will present the awards after the talk, around 5 p.m. Those wanting to watch the event remotely may watch it here.

The phone records were secretly obtained in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Justice during President Donald Trump’s administration to try to identify and silence their sources, according to the Colby release.

“These journalists persist in their efforts to inform the public about important issues despite significant government overreach, and their work underscores the critical role of the press in a democracy,” Greene said in the release. “We need them now more than ever, and they truly deserve to be recognized in the name of Elijah Parish Lovejoy.”


Colby has presented the Lovejoy Award since 1952 as a way to honor journalists for courage in reporting and writing. The award is named for the 1826 Colby valedictorian who was a crusading abolitionist editor before he was shot dead by a mob in 1837 for his anti-slavery editorials. According to John Quincy Adams, he was America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.

Adam Goldman of The New York Times. Photo courtesy of Colby College

Apuzzo, who graduated from Colby in 2000 and previously worked for the Morning Sentinel, recalled sitting in Lorimer Chapel as a student and listening to Lovejoy award recipients David Halberstam and John Seigenthaler.

“Humbling doesn’t come close to describing how it feels to share in this award,” he said.

Recent Lovejoy Award recipients include Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald, Alec MacGillis of ProPublica, Alissa Rubin of The New York Times and Katherine Boo of The New Yorker.

Nakashima, a national security reporter at the Post, said, “We work in the interests of truth, the public’s right to know and of holding power to account. The true reward is being able to inform the public — the essence of a vibrant democracy.”

This spring the administration of President Joe Biden disclosed that the Department of Justice obtained reporters’ records over a four-month period in 2017 in an effort to uncover their sources. Subsequently, Biden said he would stop the DOJ from pursuing this type of action again, saying it was “simply, simply wrong,” according to the Colby release.

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