The media industry did something it does best — celebrated itself — on Tuesday at the 17th annual Mirror Awards.
Administered by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the awards, which took place at Cipriani on 42nd Street, honors media reporting, commentary and criticism, and this year, there was a lot to talk about.
Presenters and award recipients touched on the hot topics from fake news and Fox News to President Trump’s administration and how the media got the election wrong.
NBC News correspondent and daughter of former president George W. Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, the emcee, kicked off the lunchtime event underscoring the importance of journalism.
“I do think we’ve realized this year, more than ever, how important journalists are,” she said, before doling out awards to a host of reporters, including Gabriel Sherman, whose reporting on sexual harassment allegations by former Fox News employees against Roger Ailes led to his exit.
Later, New York Time executive editor Dean Baquet would present his boss, chairman and publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. with an i-3 Award for impact, innovation and influence for The Times’ coverage.
Baquet noted that while The Times must continue to “change” with the media landscape, its hard-hitting journalism has never been more important.
The editor then turned to Sulzberger, whose family remains one of the few media clans still in power, emphasizing the important role he has played in shaping the work of today’s Times.
Thanking Baquet as he accepted the award, Sulzberger joked that he would “rethink” the editor’s “pay.”
Sulzberger gave a shout out to the late David Carr, whose media reporting and analysis for The Times is “missed.”
“I think a lot about what David would make of all that is happening around us now,” he said. “When everything about our society is changing rapidly and relentlessly, the need for quality information, truth and accountability grows as well. Arguably that need has never been greater than right now.”
NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, who accepted The Fred Dressler Leadership Award, would echo those sentiments.
Receiving a standing ovation for his impressive career, Brokaw strode to the stage and addressed the current media climate.
“I don’t think there’s ever been any year or any era over the course of my career that I remember the rules of the game being such assault….We are seeing the most profound and pernicious threat to our profession and democracy. That threat is fake news,” he said, before urging fellow journalists to spend more time investigating “what we should know.”