Sebastian Rotella, Winner of the 2012 Urbino Press Award "In my house the American dream is not a cliché"
Sebastian Rotella, a Senior Reporter with ProPublica, an author, and a former reporter with the Los Angeles Times, is the winner of the Seventh Urbino Press Award.
Rotella's father, Salvatore Giuseppe Rotella, emigrated to the United States from Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Sicily in 1950.
The announcement was made this evening by Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero at a reception held atthe Italian Embassy. In announcing the winner, Amb. Bisogniero noted that we must consider where we are today in the information age, and the new trend of online reporting that is unfiltered but at times raises questions of reliability. Against this backdrop, said Bisogniero, the Urbino Press Award "recognizes excellence in journalism, awarded to American journalists whose daily engagement and commitment is to properly inform millions of people." It was important to assign this year's prize to an "investigative journalist committed to uncovering the facts and tracking relevant studies independently," said Bisogniero.
Rotella, in thanking the Ambassador and Giovanni Lani, the President of the Urbino Press Award, and the representatives of the Marche region, quoted Italian writer Leonardo Sciascia's aphorism, "La sicurezza del potere si fonda sull'insicurezza dei cittadini," meaning the security of power is founded on the insecurity of the citizens. He said that is "a good analysis of how the world works," and that ProPublica exposes the abuses of power and has become "a force for justice and for the future of journalism." Rotella, who was born in Chicago, also recalled his trips to Italy when he would cross into Sicily and eat an arancino on the ferryboat. He said that this award was very special not only to him but to also to his family.
The first Urbino Press Award was given in 1996 to Diane Rehm, the NPR Talk show host and journalist. Since then, the Urbino Award has become one of the most coveted journalistic awards. Past winners include Helene Cooper of the New York Times, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times, Martha Raddatz of ABC news, and Michael Weisskopf of Time magazine. The award was established by Italian fashion designers Piero and Giacomo Guidi in recognition of American journalists who have excelled in keeping the public informed about current events. The official award ceremony takes place this summer in the city of Urbino, Italy.
(Pictured from top, Sebastian Rotella (left), Amb. Claudio Bisogniero, Mr. and Mrs. Salvatore Rotella)