Each year, the Center works with industry professionals and academic leaders to select the Estlow Lecturer and recipient of the Anvil of Freedom Award. The honoree is invited to serve as a keynote lecturer at a University-wide event which recognizes outstanding contributions to journalism and democracy and also speaks with classes and student groups during his or her visit to campus, thus providing opportunities for deepened learning among students, faculty, staff, and members of the public. The event forges interdisciplinary and cross-institutional connections and enables the University of Denver to serve as host for a fulsome exploration of the state of journalism and its evolving relationship to the democratic self-governance so central to U.S. identity.
The Estlow Lecture began in 1993 and the Anvil of Freedom award was first presented in 1997. The award is given to the Estlow Lecturer in recognition of his or her superior leadership and commitment to ethics, integrity, and democratic freedoms, especially the protection of the First Amendment. In some years, it is also given in conjunction with the Margolin Distinguished Lecture.