The Lanny Friedlander Prize honors an individual or group who has created a publication, medium, or distribution platform that vastly expands human freedom by increasing our ability to express ourselves, engage in debate, and generate new ways of understanding the power of “Free Minds and Free Markets." It was first awarded in 2013, to Jane Metcalf and Louis Rossetto, the co-founders of Wired magazine.
The award is named for Lanny Friedlander (1947-2011), who founded Reason magazine in 1968 as a 20-year-old college student at Boston University. An admirer of the Austrian School of economics, Ayn Rand, and Swiss typography, he was agitated by the violent campus atmosphere of the day and the equally brutal response of the authorities. He intended Reason to act as a sort of libertarian conversation pit, where members of that fledgling movement could share news and commentary while building a community. The first issue of the magazine included this mission statement:
“When REASON speaks of poverty, racism, the draft, the war, student power, politics, and other vital issues, it shall be reasons, not slogans, it gives for conclusions... Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherence, not contradictions. This is our promise: This is the reason for REASON.”
Friedlander, a talented graphic artist who went on to work with Massimo Vignelli, sold the magazine to contributors Robert W. Poole, Manny Klausner, and Tibor Machan in 1971.