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Apple CEO Tim Cook, Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner, Rep. John Lewis Among Honorees At Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Awards

The Newseum recognized the recipients of the 2017 Free Expression Awards, with a special dinner and awards ceremony on April 18th. All photographs by Daniel Swartz.
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The Newseum opened its Pennsylvania Avenue doors to a sold-out crowd on Tuesday night, for the second annual Free Expression Awards dinner and ceremony.

Honorees Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, Executive Director of Becket Law.
Awards were given in five distinct categories.

Six exemplary individuals were recognized for the risks they have taken “in sharing critical information with the public” and pushing the boundaries of artistic and media expression — sometimes with punishing consequences. The 2017 honorees included Apple CEO Tim Cook for the Free Speech Award, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and Christie Hefner for the Arts & Entertainment Award, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz for the Free Press Award, Becket Law Executive Director Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz for the Religious Freedom Award, and Congressman John Lewis for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gloria Story Dittus, Cathy Merrill Williams (’17 Free Expression Awards Dinner Chair), Christie Hefner (’17 Arts & Entertainment Award honoree), and Joan Steel.
Washington Post Publisher & CEO Fred Ryan, Axios and POLITICO co-founder Jim VandeHei, and IJR founder Alex Skatell.

Guests were invited to mingle with Newseum President & CEO Jeffrey Herbst on the building’s second floor outdoor patio at the beginning of the evening, before taking their seats for the main program. Washingtonian CEO Cathy Merrill Williams served as the dinner chair for the event, which saw many media luminaries in attendance, including Washington Post Publisher & CEO Fred Ryan and Executive Editor Marty Barron, Axios and POLITICO co-founder Jim VandeHei, IJR founder Alex Skatell, and ABC News President James Goldston.

ABC Publicity Director Caragh Fisher, ABC News President James Goldston, and BBC anchor Laura Trevelyan.
A cocktail reception was held on the Newseum’s second floor outdoor patio prior to the awards ceremony and dinner.

In a year where the headlines have been dominated by talk of “fake news” and the spirit of a free press has been under constant attack, the awards served as a reminder to a global audience (the event was live streamed over the Internet) of the importance of safeguarding the fundamental right to express oneself freely.

Cary Hatch, Joanne Herald, and Dr. Alli Guleria.
Iconic news imagery rotated throughout the evening on the Newseum’s massive, 100-foot-wide video wall.

“It is more important than ever to support the First Amendment when our country is so divided,” said Williams. “Freedom of Expression leads to a greater democracy and I am proud to serve as the chair of this great dinner and the extraordinary people being honored.”

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