Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Announces 2024 Book and Journalism Award Winners

NEW YORK, MAY 21, 2024Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights today announced the winners of its 2024 RFK Book and Journalism Awards during a virtual ceremony with remarks by president Kerry Kennedy and featuring special guest presenters Kimberly Adams, Michael Beschloss, Margaret Engel, Annette Gordon-Reed, Van Jones, Rory Kennedy, Nicholas Kristof, Arantxa Loizaga, Craig Melvin, Natalie Morales, Amna Nawaz, Soledad O’Brien, Symone Sanders, and John Seigenthaler.

Award winners were honored for their work documenting pressing social issues and human rights abuses. Winning entries were selected from roughly 400 global submissions.

“Journalists and authors empower change. Their work is a rallying cry, drawing attention to the abuses and inequities that cannot be ignored,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “The writers, photographers, artists, and producers who tell these stories are critical to preserving democracy and protecting human rights. We are honored to celebrate them today.”

Among the Journalism Award winners:

  • Carnegie-Knight News21, housed at Arizona State University, won the College Journalism Award for its project “America After Roe.” Featuring the work of 25 student journalists from nine universities, the project examines how the monumental decision has gone beyond abortion bans and courthouse battles to more broadly affect health care, culture, policy, and people. “America After Roe” was also named the Grand Prize Winner.
  • The Marshall Project won this year’s Criminal Justice Award for its three-part series “When Guards Abuse Prisoners,” which investigates how a correctional department disciplines — or fails to discipline — its officers.
  • The Center for Investigative Reporting and Motto Pictures won the Domestic Television Award for their piece “Victim/Suspect,” which documents a shocking nationwide pattern – young women tell police they’ve been sexually assaulted, but instead of finding justice, they’re charged with a crime, arrested, and imprisoned by the very system they believed would protect them.
  • The Associated Press won the International Photography Award for its coverage of the war in Gaza, with judges praising the skill, empathy, and experience of staff photographer Fatima Shbair as she covers the ongoing humanitarian crisis. “War in Gaza” also received the John Seigenthaler Courage in Journalism Award.

This year’s Book Award winner is “Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class” by acclaimed historian Blair LM Kelley. Spanning two hundred years, “Black Folk” highlights the lives of the laundresses, Pullman porters, domestic maids, and postal workers who established the Black working class as a force in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kelley weaves her ancestors’ story into the history, adding a personal, moving, and very human narrative. “A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them” by author and journalist Timothy Egan also received a special recognition honor this year.

The annual competition, in place since 1969 for journalism categories and 1980 for the Book Award, highlights exemplary work that explores issues of human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action. It is one of the few awards in its field determined by peers.

We are grateful to Mort Zuckerman and the Zuckerman Family Foundation for their support of this year’s Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Awards ceremony. Special thanks to historian and author Michael Beschloss, head of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award committee, and Margaret Engel, director of the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation and chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards committee, as well as the committees and many volunteer judges who participated this year. 

The full list of honorees for the 2024 RFK Book and Journalism Awards can be found below.

High School Journalism

The Hidden Homeless

Naperville Central High School

Nathan Yuan

College Journalism and Grand Prize

America After Roe

Carnegie-Knight News21

Housed at Arizona State University, in partnership with University of Oregon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Florida International University, University of Colorado Boulder, St. Bonaventure University, University of Oklahoma, University of North Texas, Ohio Wesleyan University

Nontraditional Media

Alone and Exploited

The New York Times

Hannah Dreier

Domestic Print

Inside the Psychiatric Hospitals Where Foster Kids Are a “Gold Mine”

Mother Jones

Julia Lurie

Domestic Photo

Black Maternal Mortality

The Washington Post

Jahi Chikwendiu

Domestic Television


The Center for Investigative Reporting and Motto Pictures

Nancy Schwartzman, Rachel de Leon, Amanda Pike, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Alice Henty, Inbal Lessner, Kim Roberts, Tracy Elizabeth Jarrett, J. Daniel Torres, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

International Print

China: The Superpower of Seafood

The Outlaw Ocean Project

Ian Urbina

International Photo and John Seigenthaler Courage in Journalism Award

War in Gaza

The Associated Press

Fatima Shbair

International Television

Inside the Iranian Uprising

Frontline (PBS)

Majed Neisi, Sasha Joelle Achilli, James Allnutt, Dan Edge, Andrew Metz, Raney Aronson-Rath

Criminal Justice

When Guards Abuse Prisoners

The Marshall Project

Joseph Neff, Alysia Santo


Hidden Confessions of the Mormon Church

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Associated Press and PRX

Michael Montgomery, Michael Rezendes, Jason Dearen, Brett Myers, Tom Berman


Art by Peter Kuper


Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class


Blair LM Kelley

Book: Special Recognition

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them

Timothy Egan


Media contacts

Amy Zelvin Reid,

Emma Gillett, 

About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, RFK Human Rights advocates for key human rights issues, championing change makers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice.