Two MJ-school alumnae earn Distinguished Young Alumni Awards

Brooke Baldwin '01 and Nikole Hannah-Jones ’03 (M.A.), two graduates of the UNC School of Media and Journalism, have earned Distinguished Young Alumni Awards from the General Alumni Association.

The GAA Board of Directors announced the awards Friday, Oct. 13, following their annual fall meeting. The awards, presented since 1989, recognize alumni age 40 or younger whose achievements bring credit to UNC. Nicholas Black — a nonprofit entrepreneur, former U.S. Army paratrooper and 2013 MBA graduate of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School — was the third award recipient.

“The MJ-school family is so proud of how our school’s alumnae are rising to such national prominence, prestige and influence,” said Susan King, dean of the school. “They are truly igniting the public conversation and representing our school’s ethic to very broad audiences. I applaud the GAA for recognizing what we’ve known for years — that Brooke and Nikole are inspirational leaders serving the public’s right to know.”

Since graduating in 2001, Baldwin has earned two Emmys and two Peabody Awards working with the CNN News team. She covered each of the past three U.S. presidential elections, earning one of two Peabody Awards for her team's coverage of the 2008 election. Baldwin also won a Silver World Medal for Best Investigative Report at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in 2012 for her first hour-long documentary, "To Catch a Killer."

Baldwin worked for TV stations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., before joining CNN in 2008. She currently hosts "CNN Newsroom."

Hannah-Jones, a 2003 master's graduate and former Park Fellow, started her career with The News & Observer and has since worked for The Oregonian, ProPublica and The New York Times. She won a Peabody Award for her work with "This American Life" in 2016, the same year she claimed the National Magazine Award for her Times piece, "Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City."

Hannah-Jones was recognized as the 2015 Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, a year before she co-founded The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting — an organization focused on increasing the number of investigative reporters of color. Hannah-Jones, who currently writes for the Times, was recently named a 2017 MacArthur Fellow and awarded a $625,000 "genius grant" by the MacArthur Foundation on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Baldwin was the MJ-school's commencement speaker in 2014 and the keynote speaker for UNC's 2017 Spring Commencement. Hannah-Jones was the MJ-school's commencement speaker in 2017.