The Denver Press Club, the nation’s oldest press club, will honor Los Angeles Times journalist and columnist Steve Lopez as part of its 28th annual Damon Runyon Award Banquet on April 14. Lopez will be the first Hispanic American to win the award.
He’s a four-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize and the author of “The Soloist,” a New York Times bestseller that inspired a film of the same name starring Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez. In 2020, the Pulitzer Prize Board lauded his “purposeful columns about rising homelessness in Los Angeles, which amplified calls for government action to deal with a long- visible public crisis.”
As part of the celebration, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has proclaimed April 14 as “Steve Lopez Day” in the City & County of Denver. Lopez’s work has chronicled hidden, deep-seated challenges including elder care, income inequality, housing, and homelessness. “The Soloist” tells the story of his unlikely friendship with Nathaniel Ayers, a Julliard-educated musician whom Lopez found living on Los Angeles’s Skid Row.
“From transformative work in Philadelphia, Oakland, and in his 22 years at The Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez demonstrates an unparalleled prescience in tackling the issues that every community in America now talks about every day,” said Marianne Goodland, president of the Denver Press Club. “It’s a joy to welcome him to Denver to celebrate his significant contributions to our craft – and our communities.”
The Damon Runyon Award banquet is Colorado’s premier journalism event. It celebrates modern-day storytellers in the mold of Damon Runyon, who launched his career in Pueblo, Colo., before winning national acclaim as the author of the stories celebrated in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls.”
The Runyon is the Denver Press Club’s highest honor, and Lopez joins a list of previous winners that reads like an honor roll of American journalism: Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, Molly Ivins, Herb Caen, Pete Hamill, Ted Turner, Maureen Dowd, Tom Brokaw, David Halberstam, Ed Bradley, Carl Hiaasen, Seymour Hersh, George Will, Bob Costas, Tim Russert, Rick Reilly, P.J. O’Rourke, Anna Quindlen, Frank Deford, Mike Lupica, Katie Couric, Norm Clarke, Jill Abramson, David Simon, Marty Baron, Bob Woodward, Judy Woodruff and – in 2022 – Eugene Robinson.
The Damon Runyon Award Banquet funds several annual scholarships awarded to Colorado journalism students, including the John C. Ensslin Award of $3,000. Recipients also have the opportunity to meet that year’s Runyon Award winner one-on-one.
This year, the banquet will begin with a party at the Denver Press Club, where attendees can greet Steve Lopez and meet leading figures in Colorado journalism. The event will then move to the Hilton Garden Inn for the award ceremony and a progressive dinner before returning to the Club for an after-party. Tickets are now available at denverpressclub.org/event/runyon2023.
Founded in 1867, the Denver Press Club is the oldest continuously operating press club in the United States. Its membership includes prominent journalists from around the world, as well as governors, senators, and several U.S. presidents. Learn more at denverpressclub.org/about/
The Denver Press Club presents the Damon Runyon Award Banquet
Friday, April 14, 2023
5:00 p.m. Pre-party at the Denver Press Club6:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn8:30 pm. After-party at the Denver Press Club
The Denver Press Club, The Hilton Garden Inn
1330 Glenarm Place, 1400 Welton Street
Attire: Business Casual