Bob Woodward, the Washington Post investigative reporter and editor whose work on the Watergate scandal led to the resignation of an American president, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Fourth Estate Award, the National Press Club’s most-honored prize.
Woodward will receive the award at a gala dinner Friday, Sept. 21. He is the 40th recipient of the Fourth Estate Award, which recognizes a journalist who has made significant contributions to the field through a lifetime of excellence.
“We are especially pleased to recognize Bob Woodward this year as it is the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, which launched what became the most significant career of a Washington journalist in our lifetimes,” said NPC President Theresa Werner. “In investigations, in analysis and in books, there is Woodward -- and then there is everyone else.”
Woodward was an inspiration to many young journalists who came of age in the Watergate era and noted that enrollment in journalism departments rose in the post-Watergate era, especially after All the President’s Men was made into a movie, Werner said.
“Bob Woodward became the face of investigative journalism,” Werner said.
The Watergate stories helped fuel skepticism about government in the Vietnam era. “Woodward demonstrated that journalism could make the world a better place,” she said.
As a young journalist, Woodward teamed with Carl Bernstein in 1972 to report and write many of the Watergate articles. The articles led to the Post’s 1973 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He was also the lead reporter for the Post's articles on the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that comprised the Post’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Woodward is the author of 16 non-fiction books, including his first, All the President’s Men, co-written with Bernstein.
Woodward began his journalism career after a five-year stint in the Navy. He applied to the Washington Post, got a two-week trial but was not hired because of his lack of journalism experience. He spent a year at the Montgomery Sentinel and was hired at the Post in 1971.
The Fourth Estate Award is the highest honor bestowed on a journalist by the National Press Club. Previous winners include Jim Lehrer, Walter Cronkite, Christiane Amanpour and David Broder. Werner said the selection of Woodward is in keeping with that tradition of honoring excellence.
The dinner is a fundraiser for the NPC's National Journalism Institute, the Club’s non-profit arm, which provides professional development and training services to the journalism community, and scholarships to aspiring journalists.
Business attire is requested.