The National Press Foundation presented its annual awards, among the most prestigious in journalism, at its gala dinner Feb. 20, 2003. Despite snow drifts and traffic jams that delayed the start of the dinner by 30 minutes, nearly 1,000 people attended. Howell Raines, executive editor of The New York Times, received the George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award. Cokie Roberts, chief congressional analyst and a political commentator for ABC News, received the Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. The Everett McKinley Dirksen Awards for Distinguished Coverage of Congress were given to Dana Bash of CNN and Alan Fram of the Associated Press. Eugene Patterson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor emeritus of the St. Petersburg Times, received the W.M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award. Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), the editorial cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and the Economist Magazine of London, receive the Berryman Cartoonist of the Year award and awed the crowd by drawing cartoons of president Bush, former President Clinton and other political figures. The foundation's award for Online Journalism was presented to MSNBC.COM. The Chairman's Citation for Overall Excellence in Journalism was given to the late Robert McGruder, former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press.
The awards were made by committees chaired by NPF board members, as follows: Editor of the Year and Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism: Caesar Andrews, Gannett News Service; Berryman Cartoonist of the Year: Sandy Johnson, Associated Press; Dirksen Awards for Distinguished Coverage of Congress: Cissy Baker, Tribune Broadcasting; Online Journalism Award, Jacqueline Thomas, chairman, National Press Foundation and faculty at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
Established in 1975, the National Press Foundation is one of the nation's leading independent, non-profit organizations dedicated to the professional development of working journalists, achieved through rigorous programs it organizes in Washington and elsewhere. The Foundation also provides scholarships for journalists to attend seminars at the Wharton School of Business and administers other awards. The awards dinner is its largest source of unrestricted revenue.