Finalists Announced for 2014 Michael Kelly Award

m.kelly-post-pic-165x300Atlantic Media recently announced four finalists competing for the 11th annual Michael Kelly Award, honoring the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.”

The award, created in honor of journalist Michael Kelly, is sponsored by Atlantic Media, owners of two publications where Kelly had served as editor, The Atlantic and National Journal.

The overall winner of the award will receive $25,000 and $3,000 will go to the runners-up at a ceremony scheduled for April 13. Kelly was killed in 2003, while on assignment covering the Invasion of Iraq.

For the award, nearly 60 entries were pulled from work published in U.S.-based newspapers, magazines, or online sites in 2013.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Matthieu Aikins, for his story  in Rolling Stone about allegations of war crimes committed by a U.S. Army Special Forces unit in Afghanistan.
  • Rukmini Callimachi, for her work the West Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press, including her reports on internal al-Qaida documents she discovered.
  • Dave Philipps, for his coverage in the Colorado Springs Gazette of combat veterans receiving other-than-honorable discharges from the military.
  • Megan Twohey of Reuters, for a series on parents who give away their internationally-adopted children through an underground Internet clearinghouse.

A five-member panel of judges said the finalists’ articles showed “the courage, determination, and passion that characterized Kelly’s journalism career. Aikins, Philipps, and Twohey are first-time honorees but it is the third time Callimachi has been selected as a finalist, more than any other journalist.

Kelly’s somewhat uneven journalism career was marked by impressive highs, such as his coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991 and his profile of Hillary Clinton for the New York Times Magazine; and embarrassing lows, including his involvement in the infamous Stephen Glass fabricated stories scandal when he was editor of the New Republic.

In addition, Kelly was a staunch supporter of the Iraq Invasion, now seen by most as a U.S. foreign policy blunder.

During his 20-year journalism career, Kelly worked for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, The Cincinnati Post and The Baltimore Sun.

The five judges of the 2014 Michael Kelly Award are:

• Tish Durkin, freelance writer
• Charles Green, contributing editor, National Journal
• Brian Mockenhaupt, freelance writer and winner of the 2013 Michael Kelly Award
• Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large, Vanity Fair
• James Oliphant, White House correspondent, National Journal

For more information about this year’s finalists, visit