Ann M. Sperber Prize

The Sperber Prize is given in honor of Ann M. Sperber, the author of the excellent biography of Edward R. Murrow, Murrow: His Life and Times (Fordham University Press). The book received numerous awards for its meticulous research and finely crafted writing and was a finalist in 1987 for the Pulitzer Prize. Through the generous support of Ann’s mother, Lisette, the prize was established to promote and encourage other outstanding biographies, autobiographies and memoirs related to the field of media and journalism.

Dr. Kathryn Omsted wins 2023 Sperber Prize

University of California at Davis Professor Kathryn Olmsted’s book The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler has won the 2023 Sperber Prize, awarded by Fordham University. The prize is scheduled to be conferred on Nov. 6 at a ceremony open to the public held at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. The Sperber Prize honors biographies about media figures and autobiographies or memoirs by media figures. This is the 25th annual competition.

The award will be bestowed on Monday, Nov 6th at 6 pm in the Lowenstein Hall 12th floor awards space at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus.  The awards ceremony is open to the public. 

Published by Yale University Press, The Newspaper Axis presents an eye-opening look into how the six most powerful media moguls in America and Britain tried to pressure their countries to ignore the fascist threat as Adolf Hitler’s power began to rise in pre-World War II Germany. The media empires of Robert McCormick, Joseph and Eleanor Patterson, and William Randolph Hearst spanned the United States, reaching tens of millions of Americans in print and over the airwaves with their isolationist views. Meanwhile in England, Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail extolled Hitler’s leadership and Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express insisted that Britain had no interest in defending Hitler’s victims on the continent.

The Newspaper Axis shows how these media titans worked in concert—including sharing editorial pieces and coordinating their responses to events—to influence public opinion in a right-wing populist direction, how they echoed fascist and anti-Semitic propaganda, and how they weakened and delayed both Britain’s and America’s response to Nazi aggression.  Here's the press release from the university. 

Read more here:

To Apply

The Sperber Prize Committee is currently considering books with 2023 copyright dates for the 2024 Sperber Book Prize.

To apply, kindly send two copies of the nominated book with contact information for the author and editor/publisher to:
Sperber Prize Jury
Department of Communication and Media Studies 
Fordham University
45 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY 10023

No letter of nomination is required.  Finalists will be contacted and asked for additional copies of their books.

Please contact Sperber Prize director Dr. Amy Aronson for questions about the application.
Phone: 212-636-7738
Email: [email protected]

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