CHICAGO — Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and
“Dateline NBC,” and data journalist Ben Welsh of the Los Angeles Times will
return to Chicago this spring to receive awards from DePaul University’s Center
for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. DePaul will honor Holt and Welsh for work
that embodies the highest principles of journalism, including truth, accuracy,
fairness and context.
Both journalists have roots in Chicago. Holt worked for 14 years at WBBM-TV
in Chicago as a reporter and anchor. Welsh earned a bachelor’s degree in
journalism from DePaul, where he studied with investigative journalists Carol
Marin and Don Moseley, who now lead the center in DePaul’s College of
Communication. A private awards event will be held April 20.
Holt brings ‘dignity,
authority’ to profession
“Lester Holt's career is the embodiment of journalistic excellence,”
said Marin, co-director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence and
political editor at NBC 5 Chicago. “He has devoted years of shoe leather to
reporting the news in Chicago, and at the national and international level. He
brings insight, dignity and authority to NBC News and to our profession,” Marin
was named anchor of “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” in June 2015, after
eight years as anchor of "NBC Nightly News" weekend editions and 12
years as co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY." In addition, Holt has served
as principal anchor of "Dateline NBC" since September 2011.
the 2016 presidential race, Holt received praise for his work moderating the
first presidential debate, which was the most-watched in U.S. history. He is
known for his work in the field, reporting and anchoring from breaking news
events across the world. Holt reported from Brussels, Paris and Nice, France,
on terrorist attacks that took place in Europe in 2015 and 2016.
His field reporting
often focuses on people directly affected by the biggest stories of the day. In
January 2017, Holt traveled across the U.S. on the road to Washington, D.C.,
for the week leading up to the presidential inauguration, talking with
Americans about the nation’s most pressing issues.
“Dateline NBC,” Holt has anchored numerous specials and investigative reports, including
“Breathless,” a story of injustice that examined the connection between
childhood asthma and poverty in America. Holt also anchored “Conviction,” a
“Dateline” special a decade in the making that examined the case of convicted
murderer Jon-Adrian Velazquez, and reported on the aftermath of the Great
Recession as part of the “American Now” documentary series.
Welsh brings ‘piercing
intelligence’ to data journalism
“Lester Holt and Ben Welsh are great role models,” said
Moseley, co-director of the center. “Just like our students at the Center for
Journalism Integrity and Excellence, they’ve taken the Brown Line, they know
the city inside and out, and strive to achieve the highest forms of journalism
and ethics,” said Moseley.
Marin and Moseley have been mentoring DePaul journalism students since
2003. Welsh was one of their first interns on the DePaul Documentary Project.
“From his time as a
DePaul student to today at the L.A. Times, Ben has been a quiet star. Versatile
in his interests, he can write and report on anything, anywhere with a piercing
intelligence,” said Marin.
As editor of the Data Desk, Welsh leads a team
of reporters and programmers in the Los Angeles Times newsroom to collect,
analyze and present large amounts of information. He worked on the team that
earned the Times staff a Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting in 2016 for
coverage of the shooting in San Bernardino and the terror investigation that
Welsh is a co-founder of the California Civic
Data Coalition, an open-source network of developers working to open up public
data, and the creator of PastPages, an archive dedicated to the preservation of
online news. He previously worked on investigative projects at the Center for
Public Integrity and has helped produce documentaries for cable channels
including CNN. Originally from Swisher, Iowa, Welsh graduated from DePaul in 2004.
Since then, Marin and Moseley have worked with
more than 50 interns at DePaul, teaching them how to report and produce
investigative journalism. In 2016, DePaul established the Center for
Journalism Integrity and Excellence in the College of Communication at DePaul to
provide students with more opportunities to gain real-world experience.
“The center symbolizes DePaul University’s commitment to the
highest standards of journalism,” said Salma Ghanem, dean of the college. “Lester
Holt and Ben Welsh exemplify these standards and set the bar for the next
generation of journalists.”
For more information about the center, visit http://bit.ly/DPUCJIE.