Carol Leonnig, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Washington Post, will deliver the Marya McLaughlin Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6 at Marymount Universitys Ballston Center Auditorium, 1000 North Glebe Road. All members of the Marymount community and the public are invited to attend.
An investigative and enterprise reporter on Posts national staff, Leonnig joined the paper in 2001. Her work holding governments accountable has drawn numerous national awards and led to major legislative reform and federal investigations. In 2015, she won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Judges praised her smart, persistent coverage of the Secret Service, its security lapses and the ways in which the agency neglected its vital task: the protection of the president of the United States. In 2014, she was part of a Post team that won the Pulitzer for Public Service for its reporting on the NSA surveillance program.
Dr. Kimberly Meltzer, an associate professor of communication and media design, said Leonnigs talk will be an inspiration to Marymount students, especially those aspiring to careers in journalism, communication and related fields.
Carols reporting on government institutions affirms the crucial roles of the press in a democracy: as the fourth estate, holding government accountable, pushing for transparency, and informing people, Meltzer said. It also demonstrates the value of persistence, truth-seeking, excellent research skills, and of course, exceptional writing skills.
Leonnig and two colleagues also won the Polk award for political reporting for uncovering the cash and gifts that then-Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell sought from a local businessman, which ultimately led to McDonnells indictment and conviction on public corruption charges. Her reporting on the Obama administrations clean-energy stimulus program first revealed how the White House pressured career government officials to award a half-billion-dollar loan to Solyndra, a solar company whose principal owner was a major Obama campaign donor. She and a small team of Post reporters won the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting after they uncovered hazardous levels of lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C., as well as similar water quality reporting problems across the country.
Before joining The Post, Leonnig worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Charlotte Observer and the Washington bureau of the former Knight-Ridder newspaper chain.
Carols work exemplifies principles that Marymount holds dear and seeks to instill in students: service to others, intellectual curiosity, ethical practice, and a culture of engagement, Meltzer said.
The endowed lecture at Marymount honors the late Marya McLaughlin, who was a well-known CBS News radio and television correspondent. The lecture provides students, faculty and the public with insights and inspiration from journalists of national stature. Past lecturers have included Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist and political analyst for NewsHour and Bob Schieffer, who was chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News and moderator of Face the Nation. Last years lecturer was Marymount alumnus Justin Kenny, who won two Emmy Awards while working as the foreign and defense editor for the NewsHour on PBS.