Gonzalez, a reporter, photojournalist and editor at the Times for 27 years, delivered the News Literacy Project’s first journalist lesson in 2009 and has been a mainstay of NLP ever since. He has led numerous lessons in multiple schools in New York City, has appeared in NLP videos and publications, has been featured in virtual visits or videoconferences connecting students across the country and has participated in NLP events.
In the process, he has become a powerful role model for students — and a favorite of educators and NLP staff.
“It has been a great pleasure to do this,” Gonzalez said upon accepting the award. “I’ve always thought of it as enlightened self-interest. This is the next generation of readers, critical readers.”
He said he was honored to receive an award named for Carroll. “For my generation,” he said, “he’s one of the greats.”
Gonzalez is one of two recipients of the inaugural John S. Carroll Journalist Fellow Award, presented in honor of the revered former newspaper editor and chairman of NLP. Matea Gold, a national correspondent with The Washington Post, received the award during a dinner in August.
Among those attending the luncheon last week was Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times. As editor of the Los Angeles Times, Carroll hired Baquet as his managing editor in 2000. Baquet, who described Carroll as “almost like a father to me,” told Gonzalez that “he would have been thrilled to honor you.”
Miller said that in addition to Gonzalez’s numerous contributions to NLP, his work as a journalist reflects values that Carroll epitomized: “integrity, a sense of public service, compassion and a deep commitment” to telling stories “with insight, accuracy, eloquence and fairness.”
Along with honoring individual achievements, the award recognizes the contributions of more than 400 journalists who have collectively delivered more than 700 lessons in person and virtually since 2009. Gonzalez and Gold were selected by a committee of NLP board members and staff; each received $500 and a glass plaque with an etched photo of Carroll.
Also attending the luncheon were Geraldine Baum, the chair of NLP's New York advisory committee; Hannah Yang, a vice president at the Times and a New York advisory committee member; and Darragh Worland, NLP’s vice president for digital media. Baum, Miller and Gold worked with Carroll and Baquet at the Los Angeles Times.
Carroll, a founding member of NLP’s board, died June 14, 2015, at the age of 73. He was one of NLP’s first two board members, served four years as its chairman and remained on the board until his death.
He was the editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2000 to 2005, during which time the paper won 13 Pulitzer Prizes. He also was the editor of The Baltimore Sun (1991-2000) and the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader (1979-1991). He served on the Pulitzer Prize board from 1994 to 2003 and was its chairman in 2002.