Former UCF student Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist slain by ISIS last year while he was covering the civil war in Syria, will be honored Friday along with two others by the American Society of Journalists and Authors with its Conscience in Media Award.

The three will be honored during a conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

Sotloff, a freelance journalist who traveled the world while working for TIME magazine and other publications, was captured in 2013 and beheaded last September. He attended UCF 2002-04 and worked for the campus newspaper.

Others to be honored are: James Foley, a freelance photojournalist who was captured and killed by ISIS in Syria; and Austin Tice, a freelance writer who was abducted in 2012 and is believed to be held captive.

“These three men represent the highest values of journalism: Courage, sacrifice and a firm commitment to the truth,” said Randy Dotinga, president of the society. “Their bravery and dedication are especially inspiring to us as fellow independent writers.”

The award was first presented in 1975, and has only been awarded 11 times due to its high criteria. According to the journalists’ organization, the award recipients must knowingly have taken a risk that goes beyond the normal call of duty.

“The Conscience in Media award recognizes journalists who knowingly have endured great personal costs while pursuing the highest tenets of their profession,” said Sally Wendkos Olds, interim chair of the society’s First Amendment Committee.

The award ceremony will be 9 a.m. at the conference for independent writers.

Sotloff, who was 31, grew up in South Florida before attending UCF. His family established the Steven Sotloff Memorial Endowed Fund through the UCF Foundation to provide scholarships to students majoring in journalism, as well as funding for symposiums, lectures and other programming to advance journalism and journalism education. For additional information or to contribute to the fund, visit

His family also established the 2Lives Foundation in Miami, which creates endowed scholarships for students seeking a career in journalism.