Zenger House is:
a Christian foundation that exists to help journalistic start-ups and honor writers who do street-level reporting and write excellent stories that show biblical truth, even if that’s not a writer’s goal. The foundation awards annual prizes to encourage outstanding writers in their craft, and to offer examples of biblically informed, original reporting for others to emulate and enjoy.
We’ve named our nonprofit organization after colonial editor John Peter Zenger. In the 1730s, his New York Weekly Journal reported that royal governor William Cosby was a thief and liar. Zenger was telling the truth, but under British law at that time truth was no defense: A journalist’s job was to do public relations for the king and his officials.
Zenger’s defense in 1735 was that the Bible’s inspired authors had criticized greedy officials, so he should be allowed to do the same. Judges in red robes and white wigs were ready to convict him, but jurors appreciated his truth-telling and, despite what the law said, delivered a “not guilty” verdict. Royal officials decided not to provoke a riot. Zenger went free.
The upshot: Officials backed off from charging editors and writers for libel when they told the truth. Journalists began pointing out government error and oppression. During the next four decades press liberty opened the door to constructive revolution and the creation of the United States of America.
Zenger House was founded by Marvin Olasky and Susan Olasky.
This year’s Zenger Prize winners are
Emily Belz, “Libraries Aren’t Safe, But They Are Good,” Christianity Today.
Maurice Chammah, “The Mercy Workers,” The Marshall Project.
Wendy Kiyomi, “My Life as a Gambler,” Image Journal.
Amelia Knisely, “Reports Show People With Disabilities Are Abused In State Care,” West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
Andy Olsen, “What Evangelicals Owe Haiti,” Christianity Today.
Eli Saslow, “A Sandwich Shop, a Tent City, and an American Crisis,” The New York Times.
Clint Smith, “Monuments to the Unthinkable,” The Atlantic.
Chris Staron, “The Battle for the Presbyterian Soul,” Truce Podcast.
Robert Wesiman, “‘I have to take my time.’,” The Boston Globe.
Sarah Eekhof, Zylstra, “Escape from Kabul,” The Gospel Coalition.
Congratulations! The prize-winners discuss the work of the Zenger House in this video:
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