Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall put a spotlight on the importance of journalism when he was presented with the Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Courageous Journalism at the 30th annual Fund for American Studies journalism awards dinner on Tuesday night in New York.
“I stand here today both as someone who has witnessed war, experienced one, the product of war in my own family, my father’s experiences. But I’m also a survivor of war. And I stand here feeling stronger than I have ever felt before. And I feel that because I feel convinced that the reason I was out there, the reason I was injured, is because we were doing something that was so important, it’s so important for ourselves, for our community, for our freedom, which is telling the truth to our viewers and our readers and our listeners,” Hall said at the famed Metropolitan Club.
Hall was severely wounded last year while covering the war in Ukraine when the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by incoming fire in Horenka, outside Kyiv. Beloved Fox News photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova were killed in the tragic attack. Hall has been through roughly 30 surgeries, lost a leg on one side and a foot on the other, and also no longer has function of a hand and one eye.
“I lost my right leg, my left foot, shrapnel in my eye, burns across my body. My hand almost torn off. But most sadly is that Pierre, the cameraman who was like a brother to me, we traveled the world together, he died alongside me that day, along with Sasha,” Hall said.
“And I now think to this day, people ask me, ‘If you could heal yourself up, get rid of the injuries, but never have done a day’s work of journalism, would you take it?’ To which I say no. Absolutely not,” he continued. “I think that what we do, what every journalist out there is doing right now is essential.”
Hall then turned his attention to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained by Russia and accused of espionage on March 29 and remains in a Moscow prison. The U.S. has all along asserted that Russia’s allegation is absurd, as have his colleagues, who describe the American-born son of Soviet immigrants as a diligent reporter who is being used as a political pawn due to his high profile.
“I’ve got to pay tribute right now to all the journalists in Ukraine, in Israel, in all those other countries around the world. And of course, to Evan Gerskovich as well, who is suffering… It’s really noble and I stand here not because I was injured, or because of my experiences, because I stand here just to tell you all that journalism is essential,” Hall said.
“Supporting journalism is essential. It is the only way to encourage people to change the world. And there’s only one way of doing that as a journalist,” he continued. “And that is by going into the field, looking people in the eyes. Smelling what it’s like, feeling it. There is no other sense of journalism.”
Hall’s colleague and friend Lucas Tomlinson, a correspondent for Fox News and son of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, presented the prestigious award.
“One thing I know is that my father, Kenneth Tomlinson, would be thrilled that Benjamin was the recipient of this award in his name. This is a recipient about integrity about outstanding journalism and most importantly, about resilience. And I don’t think there’s anybody I know who is more resilient than Benjamin Hall,” Tomlinson said.
The nonprofit organization Save Our Allies helped get Hall safely out of Ukraine with the help of Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Tomlinson asked Griffin for her reflections on Hall and the harrowing moments getting him out of Ukraine and read her comments to the crowd.
“I have known many wounded Warriors for more than a decade, who have had to cope with similar wounds, but no one has ever had a positive infectious attitude Benjamin Hall exhibited that fateful day and has ever since. His doctors told us they’d never seen anything like it. His positivity motivates everyone around us. I speak for the entire Fox News Channel when I say he motivates all of us… he is the most infectiously positive person I’ve ever met and inspires us all every day,” Griffin said, according to Tomlinson.
Tomlinson then read a quote from Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst, “Benjy’s the type of war correspondent we all aim to be. He is empathetic, driven and passionate and does the job for the right reasons. He’s a role model for the entire industry, all while maintaining the beautiful thing. He’s not only one of the best journalists I know, he’s one of the best fellows.”
Fox News’ David Rutz and Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.
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