NPR's David Folkenflik earns Bart Richards Award

April 05, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A journalist considered by some as among the most influential people in American media, and someone whose work consistently provides a valuable resource for media consumers on a variety of platforms, has earned the annual Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism.

David Folkenflik of NPR News will be presented with the highly competitive national award Thursday, May 11, at the National Press Club.

The Bart Richards Award, annually presented by Penn State's College of Communications, honors work that evaluates news media coverage of significant subjects or issues. The award is intended to recognize constructively critical articles, books and electronic media reports; academic and other research; and reports by media ombudsmen and journalism watchdog groups. Entrants are judged by professionals from journalism and journalism education.

Folkenflik’s body of work in 2016 provided a testament to rigorous reporting as well as his storytelling style. Among the many stories he shared with his readers, listeners and followers was the news that CNN made more than $100 million in unexpected profits thanks to its saturation coverage of Donald Trump, and that 21st Century Fox had moved to fire Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.

Neal Carruth, general manager of podcasts for NPR News, submitted the entry on Folkenflik’s behalf and said his impact went beyond the stories themselves. 

“Folkenflik has chronicled the challenges, achievements, and failures of the news media during a critical period with deadline grace and, despite comedic touches, a seriousness of purpose,” Carruth said. “He has grounded his reporting in the conviction that people need to be equipped to be citizens, not merely news consumers, and that they cannot without a vigorous press. Early on, David identified the forces that shaped the media’s role in the presidential race and beyond: the collision of power and journalism, money and truth.”

After submissions for the award were reviewed by College of Communications faculty screeners, external judges reviewed three finalists. Those judges — Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Tom Loebig, vice president, digital media content and operations, AccuWeather; and Terry Mutchler, head of the transparency practice group at Pepper Hamilton LLP and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records — were unanimous in their praise and support of Folkenflik’s work.

Based in New York City, Folkenflik has served as NPR’s media correspondent since 2004.

His stories and analyses are broadcast on the network’s news magazines, such as “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and “Here & Now,” and are featured on NPR’s website and mobile platforms. Folkenflik’s reports cast light on timely stories, the figures who shape journalism and the tectonic shifts affecting the news industry.

Folkenflik joined NPR after more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered higher education, national politics and the media. He started his professional career at the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. Folkenflik served as editor-in-chief at the Cornell Daily Sun and graduated from Cornell with a bachelor’s degree in history.

His work has been honored by the National Press Club, the National Headliners Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. He was the first Irik Sevin Visiting Fellow at his alma mater and speaks frequently across the country. He often appears as a media analyst for television and radio programs in the United States, the U.K., Canada, Australia and Ireland. Folkenflik lives in New York City with his wife, who is the senior director for original content at Audible, and children.

  • David Folkenflik mug shot

    David Folkenflik

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated April 11, 2017