Brookings Scholar Stephen Hess Wins Press Club Award For "Campaign Etiquette" Book

Brookings Senior Fellow Stephen Hess is the winner of the National Press Club's 1999 Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism for his book The Little Book Of Campaign Etiquette.

The award, sponsored by former US News & World Report journalist Arthur Rowse, will be presented at a National Press Club awards ceremony July 22. It carries a $1,000 cash prize.

According to the citation, the award to Hess "honors excellence in examining the role and work of the news media." The citation notes that all entries "must focus on criticism of journalistic practices or reporting on the industry, and must encourage responsible media behavior."

The award-winning Hess book was published in 1998 by the Brookings Institution Press. It offers suggestions to both candidates and reporters on how to improve the news coverage of political campaigns.

For instance, on the topic of allegations of sexual misconduct by candidates, Hess lists four conditions that justify reporting details about the private lives of politicians: "if the candidate lies; if the relationship is of recent vintage or is still continuing; if the relationship directly affects the politician's public life or governing decisions; if there's blatant hypocrisy, such as the candidate's running on a platform of restoring morality to America."

Hess is the author of the Brookings Newswork Series: "The Washington Reporters" (1981), "The Government/Press Connection" (1984), "The Ultimate Insiders: U.S. Senators in the National Media" (1986), "Live from Capitol Hill!" (1992), "International News & Foreign Correspondents" (1996). He is now working on Newswork 6, "Through Their Eyes," a study of foreign correspondents in the United States.

Despite his frequent criticism of journalistic practices, Hess's work has been praised by many well-known journalists. Magazine and book writer Ken Auletta says, "Stephen Hess has long been a thorn in the side of journalists because he regularly exposes the gap between what we profess and what we do." Veteran broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr comments, "Hess illuminates the journalist's place in the universe."