Kristen Welker, Gio Benitez and Ingrid Ciprián-Matthews Join RTDNA’s First Amendment Award Honorees

By Mark Mwachiro 

The RTDNA Foundation has expanded its list of recipients of the 2024 First Amendment Award from five to 13, including journalists from NBC News, ABC News and CBS News, namely Kristen Welker, Gio Benitez and Ingrid Ciprián-Matthews.

Welker has been included in the list, with the RTNDA saying it selected her because of her “outstanding political reporting during one of the most contentious periods ever in American politics. As the moderator of a journalism institution, she holds the powerful accountable and continually proves why the First Amendment matters.”

Benitez is being recognized for “his courageous reporting of the Maui wildfires. Benitez was on vacation in Hawaii when the wildfires started, and he did what came naturally to him: He reported the news. His work was thorough and inspiring and captured the horrific human toll of the natural disaster.”


Finally, Ciprián-Matthews is an honoree as a result of her “commitment to excellent and ethical journalism, especially at a time when the stakes are so high. Her leadership during some of the most challenging news stories in American history is a testament to the power of journalism.”

These three journalists join CNN’s Clarissa Ward in being recognized as the 2024 First Amendment Award winners. Clarissa’s nomination was announced earlier in the month, as she is being honored for her brave, ethical and thorough reporting from some of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world.

“The First Amendment Awards gives us all a chance to pause and reflect on the brave and brilliant work done in the name of journalism,” RTDNA Foundation chair Allison McGinley said. “It is a true honor to get a chance to recognize these outstanding recipients.”

The First Amendment Award recognizes efforts to promote responsible journalism and preserve the constitutionally guaranteed rights to do so.

The 33rd annual First Amendment Awards ceremony will occur on March 9 at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.