Skip to Content

D. Watkins News Releases

Morgan’s School of Global Journalism and Communication Awards D. Watkins 2023 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence

by Morgan State U
April 09, 2024

Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC) announces the 2023 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence award to bestselling and award-winning author D. Watkins. Baltimore native D. Watkins, an editor at large for Salon and a writer on the HBO limited series “We Own This City,” is being recognized for his journalistic body of work over the past year. His reporting and writing, which one awarding panel judge described as being “in sync with the legacy of journalist and NABJ co-founder and second President Vernon Jarrett,” brought results and righted wrongs, such as in the writing of his illuminating expose of the rogue Baltimore police officers who terrorized citizens (especially black residents) instead of serving and protecting them, ultimately leading to the officers serving prison sentences.

Watkins will be officially recognized during a special ceremony held at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 19. Along with the medal, Watkins will receive a check for $10,000 and will also be assigned a fall intern from the School of Global Journalism and Communication to work with.

“D. Watkins makes plain what many try to obfuscate when explaining the racial and social differences that impact Black life on a daily basis,” said Jackie Jones, dean and professor of Journalism for SGJC. “His words cut across the usual lines of division and provide universal clarity.”

The Vernon Jarrett Medal The Vernon Jarrett Medal is awarded to a journalist who has published or broadcast stories that are of significant importance or have significantly impacted some aspect of Black life in America.

The award is named for the late Vernon Jarrett, a pioneering African American columnist who wrote for the Chicago Defender, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times and who used his columns and long-running radio and television shows to educate Americans about the nation’s legacy of slavery and segregation. Jarrett was a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists

Another judge added, “D. Watkins offers extremely powerful narratives and compelling storytelling about race and culture while masterfully speaking to readers across all socio-economic lines. His ability to analyze America’s racial divide as a Black man in this republic is perhaps more important today than ever before.”

In addition to his work on the HBO mini-series and the show’s companion podcast, Watkins was also featured in the HBO documentary “The Slow Hustle.” His work has also been published in the New York Times, Esquire, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, and other publications.

Previous Jarrett Medal winners are:

  • Wes Lowery, Journalist-in-Residence at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism (2022)
  • Kaye Whitehead, WEAA-FM public affairs host and associate professor at Loyola University (2021)
  • Errin Haines, of The 19th and Adam Serwer, of The Atlantic (2020)
  • Audra S. Burch, of The New York Times(2019)
  • Philadelphia Inquirerand Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas (2018)
  • Philadelphia Inquirerand Daily News reporter Mensah Dean (2017)
  • Kirsten West Savali, a writer, cultural critic and associate editor of The Root (2016)
  • Stacey Patton, then, a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education(2015)

About the School of Global Journalism & Communication 

The School of Global Journalism & Communication was created in July 2013 and led by Dean DeWayne Wickham, a former columnist for USA TODAY and a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Current Dean Jackie Jones is a veteran reporter and editor, who has worked at several newspapers across the country, including New York Newsday, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Washington Post. The school is dedicated to giving voice to people who struggle to contribute to the public discourse that shapes the nation and the world through innovative teaching, cutting-edge research and exemplary service to Maryland, the nation and the world. The school seeks to instill in students the skills, knowledge and training necessary to become effective communicators and to add to the diversity of thought in the media. 


About Morgan State University 

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 150 academic degree and certificate programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit


# # #


Media Contacts:

Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, for University PR

Michael Cottman, for SGJC