2023 WABJ Special Honors & Scholarship Gala (Courtesy image)

By Special Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Association of Black Journalists’ (WABJ) annual Special Honors & Scholarship Gala is back — this time at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center on the campus of Howard University on Saturday, Dec. 2. The event starts at 6 p.m. This year’s gala honors eight distinguished professionals for excellence in journalism, communications, newsroom leadership, and community service.


Journalist of the Year – Kristen Welker, the new moderator of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and the first African-American woman to hold the post. A public affairs program, “Meet the Press” is the longest-running program on broadcast television.

Young Journalist of Excellence – Phil Lewis, senior front-page editor at HuffPost

Legacy Award – Sonya Ross, founder and editor-in-chief of Black Women Unmuted

Lifetime Achievement Award – Pat Lawson Muse, anchor emeritus at NBC 4 Washington

Excellence in Communications – Erica Loewe, chief of staff, White House Office of Public Engagement

President’s Award – Denise Rolark Barnes, the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer

Dr. Sheila Brooks Community Impact Award – Street Sense Media, a renowned nonprofit recognized for its exceptional coverage of homelessness issues. This new award is named in honor of D.C. journalist turned communications entrepreneur Dr. Sheila Brooks.

Dorothy Butler Gilliam Trailblazer Award – Krissah Williams Thompson, a managing editor at The Washington Post. Thompson is the first African American woman to be named managing editor. This new award is named to honor Gilliam, the first African-American woman reporter hired at The Washington Post.

This event will be hosted by Anna-Lysa Gayle of DC News Now and Lorenzo Hall of WUSA9. The WABJ Special Honors & Scholarship Gala is a fundraiser to support our longstanding Urban Journalism Workshop for local high school students and to sustain our scholarship programs and year-round programming.