Reporters Without Borders USA and CNN were pleased to announce the winners for the “For Press Freedom” Video Contest, a nationwide competition challenging university students to create a video PSA that aired on CNN on World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2012.
The winners are Cassandra Stagner and William Granaderos from Western Michigan University.
Students from universities all across the United States participated in the contest which was made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
The students were challenged to create a PSA answering the question “Why should we care about freedom of information?”. The international jury of journalists and human rights defenders selected the winning video based on quality, creativity, message and impact.
The jury included CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, CNN Worldwide executive vice-president and managing editor Mark Whitaker, Calvin Sims from the Ford Foundation, Reporters Without Borders executive director Olivier Basille, Reports Without Borders USA chairman Peter O. Price, Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, Bashana Abeywardane of Sri Lanka’s Journalists for Democracy, Bahraini journalist Nada Alwadi and Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker of Hell and Back again Danfung Dennis. The winning video was created by Cassandra Stagner and Wil Granaderos from Western Michigan University.
This same day, the winners were attended the World Press Freedom Day party at CNN in New York where they were awarded for their video among journalists and human rights activists.
- From left to right: Denise Tugade (RWB), Peter Price (Chairman Reporters Without Borders USA), Cassandra Stagner (winner of the "For Press Freedom" CNN- RWB student video contest), Anderson Cooper, William Granaderos (winner of the "For Press Freedom" CNN- RWB student video contest), Mark Whitaker (CNN Worldwide executive vice-president), Delphine Halgand (DC Director Reporters Without Borders)
Anderson Cooper, Anchor, CNN
Anderson Cooper anchors Anderson Cooper 360º on CNN. He joined CNN in 2001, covering the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the uprising in Egypt and the aftermath of the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti, among many other stories throughout his career. Cooper and Anderson Cooper 360° have won several major journalism awards, including multiple Emmy awards.
Mark Whitaker, Executive vice-president and Managing editor, CNN Worldwide
Mark Whitaker is responsible for leading editorial coverage across all CNN networks and websites and directing the overall approach, tone and scope of CNN’s reporting. Whitaker previously served as senior vice president and Washington bureau chief at NBC News and he was the editor of Newsweek from 1998 to 2006.
Calvin Sims, Program Officer for News Media and Journalism, Ford Foundation
Calvin Sims manages a portfolio of grants focused on the development of a free and responsible press worldwide. Prior to joining the Ford Foundation in 2007, Calvin spent two decades at The New York Times. He was a director, producer, news anchor, and foreign correspondent and played a central role in the newspaper’s expansion into television, documentaries and the Web. As a foreign correspondent, Calvin was based in Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul and Jakarta.
Olivier Basille, Executive director, Reporters Sans Frontieres International
Olivier Basille is the Executive director of Reporters Sans Frontieres International /Reporters Without Borders International. In 1995, he founded the Belgian office of RSF and has been the permanent representative to the European Union’s institutions since 1998.
Peter O. Price, Chairman, Reporters Without Borders USA
Former President and CEO of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Peter O. Price is Chairman and Chief Executive of Premiere Previews, a joint venture with the New York Times and Warner Bros., which digitally restores film classics for screenings by club members of the New York Times Film Club. At Reporters Without Borders, he is a crucial advisor for the US strategy.
Roxana Saberi, Iranian-American journalist and author
Roxana Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 and worked for news organizations including BBC, NPR, ABC Radio, and Feature Story News. She was arrested on January 31, 2009 and was sentenced to eight years in prison on a trumped-up charge of espionage. In May 2009, an Iranian court overturned the sentence, and she was released. Since her release, she has worked to bring attention to the situation of human rights in Iran.
Bashana Abeywardane, Sri-Lankan journalist and writer
Bashana Abeywardane has been working as a journalist since 1992 and was forced into exile in 2006. He is currently serving as the Convener of the exiled Sri Lankan rights group, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS).
Nada Alwadi, Bahraini journalist
Nada Alwadi has been working in print media since 2003 covering politics and human rights issues in Bahrain and the Middle East. She covered the recent crackdown in Bahrain for several international media including USA Today. She was detained in April 2011 for her reporting and is now living in the United States. In 2011, she was one of the recipients for the first James Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Alwadi co-founded the Bahraini Press Association with other prominent Bahraini journalists last year.
Danfung Dennis, American photojournalist and film director
Since 2006, Danfung Dennis has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His still photographs have been published in print media all over the world. In 2010, he won the Bayeux-Calvados Award For War Correspondents. Danfung Dennis directed and filmed his first feature length documentary on the war in Afghanistan, Hell and Back Again, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won both the World Cinema Jury Award and the World Cinema Cinematography Award. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Reporters Without Borders was created in 1985 to defend journalists and media rights worldwide. It is a non-profit organization based in Paris, with more than 150 correspondents on the ground and a dozen offices abroad, including in Washington D.C.
CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media. CNN launched its first U.S cable news channel in 1980 and was the first platform to provide 24/7 news coverage in the country. CNN continues to be committed to delivering nonpartisan news and analysis to global audiences across all platforms.