Six "Journalists Of The Year," 2005
AARON BROWN, CNN, although dismissed from his position as a nightly news anchor, Brown's broadcasts in the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina were among the first to recognize the enormity of the storm, and Brown was the first to accurately and precisely say that the government was "overwhelmed" by the aftermath. Also, Brown was known for his full, humanitarian appreciation, too uncommon among news broadcasters and other journalists, of the barbarism of America's enemies in the War On Terror. A sensitive, intellectual questioner of the facts, and always a professional, Brown deserved better than he got from CNN.
JOHN BURNS, NEW YORK TIMES, the paper's restrained, careful, comprehensive Baghdad correspondent, provided coverage of the Iraqi war that was without peer. He was always fair to the United States and to others in the multi-dimensional conflict. With his long Middle Eastern background, he appreciated the complexity of the region's problems and conveyed them in unsparing language.
STEVE LOPEZ, LOS ANGELES TIMES. In a rough year for the Times in the grip of the costcutting Tribune Co., Lopez stood out as a distinguished columnist, both profound and humorous. His week on skid row, his sympathy with the underdogs of all kinds and his steadfast opposition to the political chicanery of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Special Election, made him extremely respected. A journalist's journalist, he was certainly the L.A. Times' Man Of The Year.
JEAN MESERVE, CNN, was on the spot in New Orleans on the day after the hurricane and was the first to report extensively on the consequences of the levee breaks, and, particularly, the people trapped in their homes and the inadequacy of rescue efforts. She helped Aaron Brown on the poignant, landmark CNN coverage of the terrible Katrina disaster.
JUDITH MILLER, NEW YORK TIMES. She had the courage to resist the squalid special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that marked government efforts against a free press, and served 85 days in federal jail, before her source liberated her from her obligations to keep his name private. Reviled by colleagues and her own weak boss, Bill Keller, Miller never lost her integrity, and will be more appreciated as efforts to squelch the press continue. More than an excellent journalist, she was a hero and found glory in 2005. Like Aaron Brown, she lost her job, but was a top professional.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC. His persistent work on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, both in New Orleans during the storm, and then on repeated returns to the city afterwards, his humanitarian sympathy with the downtrodden victims of the storm, made him the most successful network news anchor in his first full year as the broadcaster of NBC Nightly News. Unflappable, energetic, a frequent traveler, he held his audience and distinguished his network. He too was fair to the United States and its soldiers in the Iraqi war.