Jesse Walden salutes storytelling at First Amendment Awards

Advocacy, Awards,

Jesse Walden

Jesse Walden, recipient of a 2024 RTDNA Foundation Citation of Courage, recognized the power of storytelling in a speech at the 2024 First Amendment Awards in Washington.

“I believe our work allows us to continue to showcase a true, accurate picture of how caring and loving the world is,” he said at the Watergate Hotel. “When they hear about someone who needs help, people who don't know you will reach out and help.”

The RTDNA Foundation honored Walden, a photojournalist for Spectrum News 13 in Orlando, with a Citation of Courage. Walden was shot while on assignment in Orlando. His colleague, Dylan Lyons, was killed in the same senseless shooting spree. He also was honored with a Citation of Courage. 

Since the shooting, Walden has displayed remarkable resilience that is revealed in his commitment to authentic storytelling.

“I've had the opportunity to witness firsthand what it means to have my voice amplified during my time of need,” he said. “Thanks to other journalists telling my story.”

Watch his full speech below:

(Photo: BP Miller / Chorus Photography)