About Zenger House

We’ve named our nonprofit organization after colonial editor John Peter Zenger. In the 1730s, his New York Weekly Journal reported that royal governor William Cosby was a thief and liar. Zenger was telling the truth, but under British law at that time truth was no defense: A journalist’s job was to do public relations for the king and his officials.


Willis Prizes honor the authors of skillful journalistic stories published or presented via newspaper, magazine, website, podcast, television, or radio. We look for street-level, pavement-pounding reporting that displays Biblical objectivity. 

We value journalism that’s salt, not sugar.

Willis Prize judges look for stories that depend on on-the-ground reporting rather than reliance on reading and contemplation only. We like strong human interest and sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects.