Kirsten West Savali

Baltimore-based Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism & Communication is scheduled to present Kirsten West Savali with the Vernon Jarrett Medal For Journalistic Excellence June 28 at the National Press Club in Northwest Washington, D.C. The award is given for exemplary reporting on Black life in America.

Savali is a cultural critic and an associate editor at The Root, a news site for Black Americans. She was also a contributing editor for  Her award also comes with $10,000.

Savali was also named to Ebony magazine’s 2015 “Power 100” list and awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship. Her bio on The Root said she writes commentary that explores the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture. Her work has been featured on,,,,,,, and several other media outlets. 

Savali holds psychology degrees from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia and Alcorn State University in Mississippi, according to her Linkedin page.

The award is named after the late Vernon Jarrett, who was a pioneering Black journalist and the first Black columnist at the Chicago Tribune. He was also the creator of the NAACP’s “Act-So” program that was established to encourage academic excellence among Black youth. The award is funded by a grant from the Open Society Foundations, an organization, created in 1979, to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.

See live coverage of the event at