Omar Jimenez, a CNN correspondent based in Chicago, will receive the 2021 McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage awarded by the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Jimenez and his crew showed courage in their reporting mission when they were arrested during the protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Over the ensuing months, he helped lead the network’s coverage in both the trial and conviction of the former officer found responsible for murdering Floyd.
Jimenez won his first National News & Documentary Emmy Award in 2021 for his work covering the death of George Floyd.
Since starting as a CNN correspondent in 2019, Jimenez has helped lead CNN’s coverage on numerous national and international stories including: the murder of George Floyd, the first major COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, the sudden death of Kobe Bryant and more. Throughout his time as a correspondent, Jimenez also helped cover the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both economic and medical, from some of the hardest hit areas of the United States including from inside emergency rooms, jails and numerous city hotspots.
Nominations for the medal came from journalists and journalism educators from across the country. The 2021-22 class of McGill Fellows, 12 students chosen for academic achievement, practical experience and leadership, researched the nominees and made the selection.
“As a student, I am inspired by Omar’s courage,” said Kyra Posey, the McGill Fellow responsible for researching the nomination. “From continuing to report on live television while he and his crew were arrested during a protest, to the rest of his vast career including coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial to the impact of COVID-19, I admire the grit and dedication he has shown in his work. I am so excited that he is the McGill Medal winner.”
The fellows will present the McGill medal on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. on campus. Following the presentation, Jimenez will deliver the 42nd McGill Lecture.
For more than 40 years, the McGill lecture has brought significant figures in journalism to UGA to help the university honor McGill’s courage as an editor. In 2007, UGA added the McGill Symposium, bringing together students, faculty and leading journalists to consider what journalistic courage means and how reporters and editors exemplify it. The medal was added in 2009.
“All of this is for a single purpose: to advance journalistic courage,” said Diane H. Murray, the Grady College’s director of alumni relations and outreach and director of the McGill program.
The McGill program is named for Ralph McGill, the late editor and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution. McGill was regarded by many as “the conscience of the South” for his editorials challenging racial segregation in the 1950s and 1960s.
For more information on the program, see www.grady.uga.edu/mcgill.