News Pioneer Sandy Close wins Nieman’s I.F. Stone Medal

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Sandy Close, executive editor and director of Pacific News Service (PNS), has been selected as winner of the 2012 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism will present the award at Lippmann House on Dec. 6, 2012.

Close will receive the honor in recognition of her many achievements in journalism and for giving a voice to individuals and communities too often ignored by mainstream media. In nominating her, the I.F. Stone Medal selection committee acknowledged her steadfast efforts on behalf of ethnic news organizations and her mentoring of young journalists.

Close has served as executive director of Pacific News Service since 1974. Under her leadership, PNS has helped launch the careers of a generation of talented young reporters who often focus on individuals and issues on the margins of society. One of the first regular commentators for NPR’s “Morning Edition” in the mid-1980s, Close went on in 1991 to create YO! Youth Outlook, a monthly magazine written by and about young people. In 1996, she co-founded The Beat Within, a weekly writing journal by incarcerated youth. That same year, she founded New California Media, which subsequently became New America Media (NAM), under the umbrella of Pacific News Service. Today, NAM is the largest editorial and marketing collaboration of ethnic media in the United States.

Close previously received a MacArthur Foundation genius grant and won the 2011 George Polk Career Award. She also co-produced the Academy Award-winning documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and work of Mark O’Brien.”