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Jerry Roberts to Receive Award

Jerry Roberts will receive the 2007 FirstAmendment Award from Pen USA.

Jerry Roberts, the former executive editor at the Santa Barbara News-Press who resigned last year citing concerns for the principles of ethical journalism, on Tuesday night will receive the 2007 First Amendment Award from Pen USA, the West Coast center for the worldwide writers’ organization International PEN.

Roberts, now publications director at UCSB, will accept the award on behalf of himself and the dozens of colleagues who left after his departure. Presenting the award will be writer and director Taylor Hackford, a Santa Barbara native and himself a former News-Press newsboy.

The event will be held at PEN’s annual Literary Festival Awards Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“The PEN First Amendment Award honors those who have courageously —  and often at great personal loss — defended freedom of expression,” said Marvin S. Putnam, chairman of PEN USA’s First Amendment Committee, in a statement. “This year’s award honors those men and women of the Santa Barbara News-Press who sought to do just that.”

Today, more than a year after he walked out of the News-Press, Roberts faces a $25 million legal action filed against him by the paper’s owner Wendy McCaw.

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