Foundation series

Defense News Naval Reporter Wins Ford Foundation Journalism Award

WASHINGTON — The Defense News naval warfare reporter has been selected to receive a prestigious defense journalism award for her coverage of everything from U.S. shipyard upgrades to the Ukrainian Navy’s efforts to rebuild and prepare for war against Russia. .

Megan Eckstein will receive the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Journalism Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, the foundation announced Tuesday.

“I am deeply honored that the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation has recognized my work in this way,” Eckstein said. “Defense News has presented me with a series of excellent reporting opportunities over the past year, and I have worked hard to make the most of them and bring the best stories and context to my readers. look forward to continuing to explain the history of the Navy and Marine Corps to the public.

In Tuesday’s release announcing the award, the Ford Foundation praised Eckstein for his “insightful reporting [that] reveals an analytical acumen for the early identification of problems that will soon emerge.

“Eckstein’s extensive sources of sourcing and research, honed by his desire to be on the stage, are an excellent example of the values ​​and excellence in reporting that the Gerald R. Ford Foundation seeks to recognize and reward,” the foundation said.

For one of Eckstein’s stories, “Tension on the Black Sea: What great power competition looks like from the deckplates”, she traveled to the US Navy destroyer Ross in the Black Sea in July 2021 to observe live-fire exercises conducted with their Ukrainian counterparts. His gripping report describes the tense scene with four Russian warships lurking nearby, and the ensuing confrontation when a Russian ship contacted the Ross and asked her to leave.

She followed up with a visit to Odessa, Ukraine, for a very detailed report on how Ukraine sought to rebuild its navy after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, during which it also seized 75% of the Ukrainian fleet.

And last November, Eckstein visited the 222-year-old Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine and wrote about the innovative practices he’s adopted that are paving the way for the Navy to modernize the way it repairs ships. ships.

“Megan takes readers with her when she travels,” Defense News editor Marjorie Censer wrote in her letter nominating Eckstein for the award. “In 2021, she traveled to Ukraine, Maine, and Florida, among other trips, and used those visits to illuminate and illustrate her pieces. It does not get bogged down in defense policy and acquisitions; it uses the people, sights and sounds of an experience to better tell the story.

Matt Viser, the White House reporter for the Washington Post, was also honored by the Ford Foundation for his distinguished reporting on the presidency.

Defense News has previously won the foundation’s National Defense Award in 1989 and 1998. Andrew deGrandpre, former editor of sister publication Military Times, who is now at the Washington Post, received the award in 2015. The series of DeGrandpre’s “Task Force Violent: The Unforgiven” investigation revealed how elite Marines were wrongfully accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and cleared their names.

Eckstein is a graduate of the University of Maryland and has covered military news since 2009. She began writing for Defense News in May 2021 and was previously an associate editor for USNI News. In 2022, she was one of a select group of defense journalists chosen to participate in the Defense Journalism Seminar Series hosted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.