Julian Leshay: Recipient of the SPJ Courage Under Fire Award


SPJ-NJ honored one of our own Wednesday at the SPJ-Gala


Photojournalist Julian Leshay was recognized with the "Courage Under Fire Award – Photography of mass protests and the Capitol riot" by the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ-NJ), for his work documenting the social justice protests, police brutality, and his D.C. coverage of the assault on our U.S. Capitol on January 6.


SPJ Award winner, Julian Leshay holding his newly received "Courage Under Fire" award, at the annual SPJ Gala, New Brunswick, New Jersey, July 28, 2021. (Photo/Madison Swart)



NEW BRUNSWICK (WNJ) New Jersey – WNJ Photojournalist Julian Leshay received the prestigious "Courage Under Fire Award" at the annual Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ-NJ) gala in New Brunswick on Wednesday night.


The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ-NJ) named Leshay one of the winners for the "Courage Under Fire Award – Photography of mass protests and the Capitol riot". The award recognizes those who "maintain their journalistic integrity when doing so involves genuine risk to their reputation, their career or even their personal safety or freedom," according to the organization. This is the first time Leshay has been honored at this level.


Leshay documented the yearlong social justice protests and police brutality across New Jersey, New York City, and D.C., during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. He also covered the assault on our U.S. Capitol on January 6 – resulting in having his work entered into the second impeachment trial of then-President Trump.


“I am beyond honored and grateful to be receiving the Courage Under Fire Award by the Society of Professional Journalists, for my recent work over the past year. I won’t be able to thank these people enough for their unwavering support – Mom, Dad, Alie, and Madison. I simply wouldn't be here without any of you. My heart also goes out to all the people who grieve and have felt the pain caused by the events I have documented. This award will act as a reminder to me and hopefully to others, that even after a long dark, pandemic-ridden year, a shiny prize awaits you at the end,” said Leshay.

“I am extremely honored that SPJ chose to award Julian Leshay the "Courage Under Fire Award,” says Pierce, WNJ Editor-in-Chief and Founder. “I hope this recognition will encourage other journalists to stand up and report with courage.” she continues, “It is an honor to have his name among the other winners – photojournalists who are committed to covering stories of tumultuous protest.


Leshay is an inspiring story, a creative photographer who you can count on to always be in the right place at the right time to capture the historic moments in time,” said Pierce. “He has made many such captures in his young career, including having his work entered into the second impeachment trial of then-President Trump.


We are proud and honored to have Leshay as part of our team, and we celebrate his bravery and persistence,” said Pierce.




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For more information about the SPJ-NJ Awards, please visit SPJ-NJ.



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