Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman (born April 13, 1957)[1] is an American broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter, and author. Her investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement and Chevron Corporation's role in Nigeria. Since 1996, she has been the main host of Democracy Now!, a progressive global news program broadcast daily on radio, television and the Internet. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Thomas Merton Award in 2004, a Right Livelihood Award in 2008, and an Izzy Award in 2009 for "special achievement in independent media".

Amy Goodman
Goodman in 2019
Born (1957-04-13) April 13, 1957[1]
Alma materHarvard University (AB)
AwardsRight Livelihood Award
ShowDemocracy Now!
NetworkPacifica Radio
StyleInvestigative journalism

In 2012, Goodman received the Gandhi Peace Award for a "significant contribution to the promotion of an enduring international peace". She is the author of six books, including the 2012 The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope,[3] and the 2016 Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.[4] In 2016, she was criminally charged in connection with her coverage of protests of the Dakota Access pipeline.[5] The charges, which were condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists, were dismissed on October 17, 2016.[6]

She was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2014.

Personal life

Both of Goodman's parents were active in social action groups.[7] George Goodman was an ophthalmologist and a founding member of the Long Island chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.[8] Dorothy Goodman, a literature teacher and later a social worker, co-founded a local chapter of the SANE/Freeze peace group.[9] One of Goodman's brothers, David Goodman, husband of Vermont politician Sue Minter, is also an investigative journalist and has co-authored books with his sister.[8]

Goodman is from a secular Jewish family.[10] Her maternal grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi.[11][12] Raised in New York, she graduated from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, in 1984, with a degree in anthropology.[13] She spent a year studying at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.[14]

In September 2007, Goodman experienced a bout of Bell's palsy.[15]

Investigative journalism career

In 1991, covering the East Timor independence movement, Goodman and fellow journalist Allan Nairn reported that they were badly beaten by Indonesian soldiers after witnessing a mass killing of Timorese demonstrators in what became known as the Santa Cruz Massacre.[16]

In 1998, Goodman and journalist Jeremy Scahill (later a founding editor of The Intercept, along with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras) documented Chevron Corporation's role in a confrontation between the Nigerian Army and villagers who had seized oil rigs and other equipment belonging to oil corporations. Two villagers were shot and killed during the standoff.[17][18] On May 28, 1998, the company provided helicopter transport to the Nigerian Navy and Mobile Police (MOPOL) to their Parabe oil platform, which had been occupied by villagers who accused the company of contaminating their land. Soon after landing, the Nigerian military shot and killed two of the protesters, Jola Ogungbeje and Aroleka Irowaninu, and wounded 11 others. Chevron spokesperson Sola Omole acknowledged that the company transported the troops, and that use of troops was at the request of Chevron's management. The documentary, Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, won the George Polk Award in 1998.

Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, said: "She's not an editorialist. She sticks to the facts... She provides points of view that make you think, and she comes at it by saying: 'Who are we not hearing from in the traditional media?'"[19]

Democracy Now!

Goodman had been news director of Pacifica Radio station WBAI in New York City for over a decade when she co-founded Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report in 1996. Since then, Democracy Now! has been called "probably the most significant progressive news institution that has come around in some time" by professor and media critic Robert McChesney.[20]

In 2001, the show was temporarily pulled off the air, as a result of a conflict with a group of Pacifica Radio board members and Pacifica staff members and listeners. During that time, it moved to a converted firehouse from which it broadcast until November 13, 2009.[21] Democracy Now! subsequently moved to a studio located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.[22]

Goodman credits the program's success to the mainstream media organizations who leave "a huge niche" for Democracy Now![20]

Interview with President Clinton

When President Bill Clinton called WBAI on Election Day 2000[23] for a quick get-out-the-vote message, Goodman and WBAI's Gonzalo Aburto challenged him for 28 minutes with human rights questions about Leonard Peltier, racial profiling, the Iraq sanctions, Ralph Nader, the death penalty, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the normalization of relations with Cuba, and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Clinton defended his administration's policies and charged Goodman with being "hostile and combative".[24][25][26][27][28][29]

Arrest at 2008 Republican Convention

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, several of Goodman's colleagues from Democracy Now! were arrested and detained by police while reporting on an anti-war protest outside the RNC.[30] While trying to ascertain the status of her colleagues, Goodman herself was arrested and held, accused of obstructing a legal process and interfering with a police officer,[31] while fellow Democracy Now! producers including reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous were held on charges of probable cause for riot.[32] The arrests of the producers were videotaped.[33] Goodman and her colleagues were later released,[34] and City Attorney John Choi indicated that the charges would be dropped.[35] Goodman's (et al.) civil lawsuit against the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments and the Secret Service resulted in a $100,000 settlement, as well as an agreement to educate officers in First Amendment rights of members of the press and public.[36][37][38]

Douglas border crossing incident

On November 25, 2009, Goodman was detained for approximately 90 minutes at the Douglas border crossing into Canada while en route to a scheduled meeting at the Vancouver Public Library. Immigration officials asked questions pertaining to their intended topics of discussion at the meeting. They wanted to know whether she would be speaking about the 2010 Olympic Games to be held in Canada.[39]

Goodman was eventually permitted to enter Canada after the customs authorities took four photographs of her and stapled a "control document" into her passport demanding that she leave Canada within 48 hours.[39][40]

North Dakota access pipeline protests

In September 2016, Goodman covered the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in Morton County, North Dakota; footage from her reporting "showed security personnel pepper-spraying and siccing attack dogs on demonstrators."[41] After Democracy Now! aired the footage, Goodman was charged by state prosecutor Ladd Erickson first with criminal trespass and, after that charge was dismissed, with riot,[41][42] and a warrant for her arrest was issued.[41] Erickson asserted that Goodman acted as "a protester" rather than a journalist, because "Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions."[42]

Goodman turned herself in to Morton County on October 17, saying that she would be fighting the charges against her as a "clear violation" of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of the press.[43] Goodman was supported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which issued a statement saying: "This arrest warrant is a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of significant public interest. [...] Authorities in North Dakota should stop embarrassing themselves, drop the charges against Amy Goodman, and ensure that all reporters are free to do their jobs."[44] Steve Andrist, executive director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association, also expressed concern that a journalist was one of only two people from the day in question wanted for arrest; authorities said that Goodman was charged because she was identifiable on the video footage.[45]

On October 17, 2016, the case was dismissed by District Judge John Grinsteiner, who found no probable cause to support a riot charge.[46][47][48] The charges against Goodman reportedly increased the public awareness on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.[49] Goodman had presented that day's Democracy Now! broadcast from in front of the Morton County Courthouse.[50] This is seen as part of attacks on journalistic freedom; Deia Schlosberg was arrested in similar circumstances while reporting on pipeline-related protests.[51]


Goodman has received dozens[52] of awards for her work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting (1993, with Allan Nairn)[53] and the George Polk Award (1998, with Jeremy Scahill).[54] In 1999, she declined to accept the Overseas Press Club Award, in protest of the group's pledge not to ask questions of keynote speaker Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and because the OPC was honoring Indonesia for their improved treatment of journalists despite the fact that its forces had recently beaten and killed reporters in occupied East Timor.[55]

Goodman was a recipient of the 2001 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage.[56]

On October 2, 2004, Goodman was presented the Islamic Community Award for Journalism by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.[57] On November 18, 2004, she was presented the Thomas Merton Award.[58] In 2006 she received the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship.[59]

Goodman was a recipient of the 2008 Right Livelihood Award. The Right Livelihood Award Foundation cited her work in "developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media".[60]

On March 31, 2009, Goodman was the recipient, along with Glenn Greenwald, of the first Izzy Award (named after journalist I. F. "Izzy" Stone) for "special achievement in independent media". The award is presented by Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media.[61]

In May 2012, Goodman received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from DePauw University in recognition of her journalistic work.[62] She also received the Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace, for a "significant contribution to the promotion of an enduring international peace".[63][64]

On May 16, 2014, Goodman received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Purchase College, SUNY in recognition of her progressive journalism.

In February 2015, Goodman (along with Laura Poitras) received the 2014 I.F. Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.[65]

In 2016, Goodman and Democracy Now! (along with Laura Gottesdiener, John Hamilton and Denis Moynihan) received a Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists in the category of Breaking News Coverage (Network/Syndication Service/Program Service) for their piece, “Standoff at Standing Rock: Epic Native resistance to Dakota Access Pipeline.”[66]

On February 14, 2019, Amy Goodman was among the recipients of the Frederick Douglass 200 award and was honored at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Frederick Douglas 200 award is a project of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University in Washington D.C.[67]


  • 2004 – The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them co-written with her brother, Mother Jones reporter David Goodman. ISBN 1-4013-0799-X
  • 2006 – Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People who Fight Back (also with David Goodman). She appeared on the Colbert Report on October 5, 2006, to promote the book. ISBN 1-4013-0293-9
  • 2008 – Standing up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (also with David Goodman) details the capabilities of ordinary citizens to enact change. Was on The New York Times Best Seller list. ISBN 1-4013-2288-3
  • 2009 – Breaking the Sound Barrier (with a preface by journalist Bill Moyers), an anthology of columns written for King Features Syndicate. In her first piece she wrote: "My column will include voices so often excluded, people whose views the media mostly ignore, issues they distort and even ridicule."[68] ISBN 1-931859-99-X
  • 2012 – The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope[3] ISBN 1-6084-6231-5
  • 2016 – Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (with David Goodman and Denis Moynihan)[69] ISBN 978-1501123580


In 2006, Goodman narrated the film One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern, a documentary that chronicles the life and times of George McGovern, focusing on his failed 1972 bid for the presidency.[70]

See also


  1. "Amy Goodman Biography". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. April 6, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  2. "Locate A Station". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  3. The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope at Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  4. Goodman, Amy; Goodman, David; Denis, Moynihan (April 12, 2016). Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (1st ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 384. ISBN 978-1501123580.
  5. Grueskin, Caroline (October 13, 2016). "Defense attorney questions prosecutor in Amy Goodman case". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  6. Merlan, Anna. "Judge Rejects Proposed Riot Charges Against Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman". Jezebel. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  7. "Dorothy Goodman Obituary". October 2, 2013. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. Askew, James. "David Goodman: Making of an activist". Stowe Today. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  9. "Dorothy Goodman Obituary". October 2009. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  10. Eil, Philip (April 30, 2016). "How a Rabbi's Granddaughter Became the Host of Democracy Now!". The Forward. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  11. "Opening the airwaves to voices not heard". (May 28, 1998). Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  12. "Sonia Bock 1897–2005: Amy Goodman Remembers Her Grandmother, a Woman of Three Centuries", Amy Goodman & Juan González, Democracy Now!, October 10, 2005. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  13. Lamb, Brian (June 6, 2004). "The Exception to the Rulers". Booknotes. C-SPAn. Archived from the original on January 21, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. "Amy Goodman To Speak At COA" Archived December 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. (September 13, 2008). Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  15. Goodman, Amy (October 31, 2007). "Being a Reporter with Bell's Palsy" via AlterNet.
  16. "Massacre: The Story of East Timor", Democracy Now!, November 12, 1997. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  17. "Drilling and Killing Archived August 5, 2004, at the Wayback Machine: As President Bush Meets with the CEO of Chevron Texaco in Nigeria, a Look at Chevron’s Role in the Killing of Two Nigerian Villagers", Democracy Now!, July 11, 2003. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  18. "Jeremy Scahill". Common Dreams. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  19. Tanya Barrientos, Tanya (May 13, 2004), "She’s taking the watchdog to task", The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  20. Ratner, Lizzy (May 23, 2005). "Amy Goodman's 'Empire'". The Nation. Archived from the original on December 9, 2012.
  21. Block, Jennifer (January 15, 2002). "A Dose of Democracy, Now: WBAI Listeners Get Their Station Back". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  22. Andy Worthington Archive for November 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  23. Democracy Now! Exclusive Interview with President Bill Clinton, Democracy Now!, November 8, 2000. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  24. "Bill Clinton Loses His Cool in Democracy Now! Interview on Everything But Monica...", Democracy Now!, June 22, 2004. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  25. Gibbons, Chip, "When Iraq Was Clinton’s War: Bill Clinton's 'quiet war' on Iraq set the stage for George W. Bush's bloody invasion", Jacobin, May 6, 2016.
  26. Hentoff, Nat, "Can WBAI Be Saved?", Village Voice, April 10, 2001.
  27. Nader, Ralph, Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender, Macmillan, 2007, p. 3.
  28. "To Amy Goodman, Independent Media's 'the Oxygen of Democracy'" KVMR FM.
  29. "Amy Goodman meets Bill Clinton - Democracy Now - full 28 minutes"., February 1, 2011.
  30. "Amy Goodman, Others Detained Outside RNC". The Nation. September 1, 2008. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  31. Garofoli, Joe (September 2, 2008). "Scenes from St. Paul – Democracy Now's Amy Goodman arrested". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  32. Totten, Sanden (September 1, 2008). "Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman arrested at RNC protest". Minnesota Public Radio. Archived from the original on September 2, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  33. "Amy Goodman's Arrest + Press Conference asked about arrest". September 1, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  34. "Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC". Democracy Now!. September 1, 2008. Archived from the original (press release) on September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  35. Williams, Chris (September 19, 2008). "No charges for reporters arrested in GOP protests". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  36. "Settlement Reached Over Arrest of Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Producers at 2008 GOP Convention". Democracy Now!. October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  37. Fung, Katherine (October 3, 2011). "Amy Goodman, 'Democracy Now!' Settle Lawsuit Over 2008 Republican National Convention Arrests". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  38. "Six-Figure Settlement Reached in Federal Lawsuit Challenging Police and Secret Service Crackdown on Democracy Now! Journalists". Center for Constitutional Rights. October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  39. Kathryn Gretzinger, Interview with Amy Goodman, CBC Early Edition, November 27, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2009 (archived)
  40. Kathy Tomlinson, "US journalist grilled at Canada border crossing", CBC News, November 26, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  41. Kludt, Tom (October 17, 2016). "Judge rules against riot charge for "Democracy Now!" host Amy Goodman". CNN Money.
  42. Ratner, Lizzy (October 15, 2016). "Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All". The Nation. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  43. "MEDIA ADVISORY: Journalist Amy Goodman to Turn Herself in to North Dakota Authorities". Democracy Now!. October 13, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  44. "Arrest warrant for muckraking U.S. journalist - Committee to Protect Journalists". Committee to Protect Journalists. September 12, 2016.
  45. Grueskin, Caroling (September 12, 2016). "Charge against reporter 'raises a red flag'". Bismarck Tribune.
  46. Grueskin, Caroline (October 17, 2016). "Protest winds down at Morton County Courthouse". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  47. Erin McCann (October 17, 2016). "Judge Rejects Riot Charge Against Amy Goodman of 'Democracy Now' Over Pipeline Protest". The New York Times.
  48. Levin, Sam (October 17, 2016). "Judge rejects riot charges for journalist Amy Goodman after oil pipeline protest". The Guardian. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  49. Hiltzik, Michael (October 17, 2016). "N. Dakota charges reporter with 'riot' for covering protest--but gets slapped down by judge". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  50. "Amy Goodman Broadcasts from North Dakota Across from Court Where She Faces Riot Charge Today". Democracy Now!. October 17, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  51. Greenberg, Will (October 17, 2016). "Judge Throws Out Charges Against Journalist Who Covered Dakota Access Pipeline". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  52. Staff/Awards. Democracy Now!. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  53. "Robert F Kennedy Memorial: 25th Annual Journalism Awards". Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-14..
  54. George Polk Awards: Previous Winners. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  55. Pacifica Rejects Overseas Press Club Award Archived August 5, 2004, at the Wayback Machine, Democracy Now!, April 23, 1999. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  56. Joe A. Callaway Awards For Civic Courage Past-Winners, Calloway Awards, 2001. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  57. "CAIR Holds Its 10th Annual Banquet With Prominent Guest Speakers", Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2004, pp. 58–59. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  58. Thomas, Lillian (November 15, 2004). "Amy Goodman / Merton Award-winning talk show host prefers listening". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  59. Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship Archived July 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, official website.
  60. Right Livelihood Award: 2008 – Amy Goodman Archived July 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  61. "Glenn Greenwald And Amy Goodman Share Inaugural Izzy Award For Independent Media". Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved March 12, 2009.. (April 3, 2009).
  62. Five Distinguished Individuals, Including Three Alumni, to Receive Honorary Doctorates in May. (March 16, 2012). Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  63. Beach, Randall (May 6, 2012), "Amy Goodman keeps telling people they can make history in their community", Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  64. "Gandhi Peace Award Presented to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!" (February 22, 1999). Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  65. "Amy Goodman Honored with I.F. Stone Journalism Award Along with Filmmaker Laura Poitras", Democracy Now!, February 6, 2015.
  66. "2016 Sigma Delta Chi Award Honorees". Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  67. "Amy Goodman Receives Frederick Douglass 200 Award". Democracy Now!. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  68. "Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman To Write Weekly Newspaper Column" Archived January 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, King Features press release, October 24, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  69. Goodman, Amy (April 12, 2016). Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (1st ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 384. ISBN 978-1501123580.
  70. "One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern (2005)". July 24, 2006.
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