Five New England journalists will receive the prestigious Yankee Quill award this spring for their contributions to the betterment of journalism in the six-state region. 

Four current journalists and one historical figure will be honored with the award on May 6, 2023, said George Geers, chair of the sponsoring Academy of New England Journalists.

Selection for the award is not based on any single achievement, or for doing your job each day, but rather on the broad influence for good over the course of a career.

This year’s Yankee Quill Awards will be presented at a luncheon as part of the annual convention of the New England Newspaper and Press Association on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel in Waltham, Mass. Convention information will be available soon.

This year’s Yankee Quill Award honorees are:

Steve Curwood receives the award for his pioneering work and wide influence in broadening the understanding and importance of environmental journalism. He began his journalism career, after completing his A.B. at Harvard University, as a reporter and then as editor of The Bay State Banner newspaper. His award-winning newspaper career also included stints at the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Globe. He was the founder of the WBUR/NPR program Living On Earth, a board member and treasurer of the Society of Environmental Journalists, and has long been active with the National Association of Black Journalists. He is also a Lecturer in Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University and a professor of practice at UMass, Boston.

Anne Galloway, founder and editor-at-large of VTDigger, is honored for her contributions to Vermont journalism. Galloway founded the news site in 2009 after a long career in newspapers, including as Sunday editor of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. VTDigger has grown from a $ 16,000-a-year nonprofit website with no employees to a $2.8 million nonprofit online news operation with a staff of 32. Galloway, who started her newspaper career at The Hardwick Gazette, has won numerous awards and changed the journalism landscape in Vermont and beyond.

Mal Leary is being recognized as the connection between Maine residents and their state government for 45 years. He worked as a freelance correspondent for radio stations all across Maine and has also written for its major newspapers. His advocacy is so fierce and his knowledge of state law so deep, he has occasionally convinced state officials to squelch plans to introduce rules that would be antithetical to the public’s right to know. In recent years, Leary has extended his advocacy work to a national scale, serving as a president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Lincoln Millstein earns the Yankee Quill award for the major imprint that he has left on local journalism’s digital presence in New England, and far beyond. After serving as city editor, business editor, and managing editor for features at the Boston Globe, he co-founded and shepherded it through its formative years as CEO. He helped build the newspaper industry’s first forays into serious digital news businesses. He went on to run digital for Hearst Newspapers and spearheaded industrywide digital initiatives including the Yahoo! Consortium and the industry’s first private digital advertising exchange. But what stands out the most is his undying excitement about tough journalism and great storytelling.

Robert Bailey Thomas (1766-1846), founder of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, will receive the Yankee Quill award posthumously for his historic contribution to specialty weather and agriculture journalism. Thomas, who also served as editor for 54 years until his death in 1846, created a specialty New England publication that stands today as the oldest continuously published periodical in the United States. Distributed annually, it bloomed from a handful of subscribers in its first year to more than 3 million today.

The Yankee Quill, which began in 1959, is bestowed annually by the Academy of New England Journalists through the auspices of the New England Society of News Editors. It is considered the highest individual honor awarded to newspaper, TV, radio, magazine, and other journalists in the six-state region. Winners are selected based on a history of lifetime achievement showing a broad impact in New England Journalism.