Michael Weisskopf receives Urbino Press Award

Thu, 05/10/2007 - 05:33

Time Senior Correspondent Michael Weisskopf on Wednesday received this year's Urbino Press Award for excellence in journalism.

Weisskopf lost part of his right arm in Iraq in 2003 when he threw an insurgent hand grenade from a Humvee to save the lives of the four soldiers and photographer who were riding with him in the military vehicle.

He later wrote a book - Blood Brothers:Among the Soldiers of Ward 57 - in which he tells the story of his treatment and recovery and those of three soldiers in the amputee ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington DC.

Weisskopf was the first reporter wounded in combat ever to be treated there.

In his acceptance speech, Weisskopf recalled that the war in Vietnam convinced him to become a journalist because "the truth which the press reported about the war was the only thing which stopped the bombing".

"I decided to become a reporter because I wanted to tell the truth, in the United States and around the world. Right up to Iraq, where I had planned to tell the story of the life of a soldier," he added.

Instead, Weisskopf told the story of the amputees, the victims of war, "and this way I beat those bastards who want to kill the freedom of others to have different views, the freedom of expression, the freedom to tell the truth".

Weisskopf received the award from the US Ambassador to Italy, Ronald P.Spogli, who said "Weisskopf's dedication and courage are an example for all those who work in the new media".

Now in its second year, the Urbino Press Award was created to recognize outstanding work by American journalists. The first winner was National Public Radio (NPR) talk show host Diane Rehm.

The award ceremony took place in the throne room of the Ducal Palace of Federico da Montefeltro.