Scripps Howard Foundation announces National Journalism Awards Winners
Fri, March 10, 2006 by Judy Clabes
CINCINNATI – The Scripps Howard Foundation today announced the winners of its annual National Journalism Awards, honoring the best in print, Web and electronic journalism and journalism education for 2005. The awards, open to all U.S. news organizations and college journalism educators, recognize excellence in 17 categories, including editorial writing, human interest writing, environment, investigative, business/economics, Washington and public service reporting, commentary, photojournalism, radio and television reporting, Web reporting, college cartooning, editorial cartooning and journalism education. The awards also honor distinguished service to the First Amendment. Cash awards totaling $195,000 will be presented April 21 during a dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Awards celebrate and honor great work by American media and the important part journalists play in a free and democratic society," said Judith G. Clabes, Foundation president and chief executive officer. "The entries -- and the winners -- this year are incredible examples of the high level of journalism being practiced in this country.” The Scripps Howard Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The E. W. Scripps Company. The National Journalism Award winners are: INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING Los Angeles Times receives the $25,000 Ursula and Gilbert Farfel prize, given in cooperation with the Ohio University College of Communication and the Farfel endowment. Reporters Robin Fields, Evelyn Larrubia and Jack Leonard won for a series of stories, “Guardians for Profit,” that led to swift reforms. The reporters examined 2,400 cases handled by professional guardians in Southern California over a 7-year period to uncover abuse of older citizens by those charged with protecting them. Finalist: The Virgin Islands Daily News (Tim Fields and Megan Poinski). PUBLIC SERVICE REPORTING South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale,receives $10,000 and the Roy W. Howard award. “FEMA: A Legacy of Waste” uncovered a trail of fraud and waste in federal disaster aid that cost taxpayers more than $530 million. The Sun-Sentinel reported that after Katrina, the agency gave $172 million in emergency aid to people never displaced by the storm. Reforms are underway. Finalist: Joy Blackburn, The Virgin Islands Daily News. EDITORIAL WRITING Tony Biffle, The Sun Herald, Gulfport, Miss., receives $10,000 and the Walker Stone award. Tony Biffle regularly reminded readers of the necessity to be prepared for the hurricane season, right up to the day of Katrina’s arrival, when there was little left to do but put their faith in “prayer. . .and plywood.” After the disaster, Biffle was a voice for his community, embodying a sense of community and expressing its rage at official inaction and indifference. Finalists: Dan Carney, USA TODAY, and Rick Attig, The Oregonian, Portland. COMMENTARY Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, receives $10,000 and a trophy. Steve Lopez took his readers into LA’s skid row where thousands are on the streets in Third World conditions. He gave the people a face, introduced readers to “Porta-Potti brothels,” “heroin easier to buy than milk,” and “crack pipes lighting the night like fireflies.” He got results, including city funds for housing for the chronically homeless. Finalists: Helen Ubinas, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant; Rob Borsellino, The Des Moines (Iowa) Register; and Chris Rose, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans. HUMAN INTEREST WRITING Brady Dennis, St.Petersburg (Fla.) Times, receives $10,000 and the Ernie Pyle award. Dennis’ “300 Words” series took readers into the lives of ordinary people and came away with something special every time. It was, judges said, a “triumph of short-form storytelling. Brady Dennis has a reporter’s eye, a writer’s touch and a reader’s ear.” Finalist:Susan Paynter, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. WEB REPORTING roanoke.com, The Roanoke Times, Va., receives $10,000 and a trophy. “Going Down the Crooked Road” takes full advantage of multimedia technologies and techniques -- video, podcasts, photo slideshows and audio -- to produce a feature rich in sights and sounds as the reporting team follows a Bluegrass heritage trail in Southwest Virginia. Finalist: The Times-Picayune, New Orleans. ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING Ken Ward, The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, receives $10,000 and the Edward J. Meeman award. Ward exposed inaccurate permit maps and lax government regulation in the application of a huge coal company to build a potentially dangerous coal storage silo near an elementary school. Armed with nothing more than a reporter's skepticism and some tracing paper, Ward found mysterious boundary changes in the permit application. His is an inspiring example, judges said, of the difference one person can make by practicing old-fashioned journalism. The permit was revoked. Finalists: Dina Cappiello, Houston Chronicle, and The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee (Deb Kollars, Matt Weiser and Carrie Peyton Dahlberg). WASHINGTON REPORTING Knight Ridder Washington Bureau receives $10,000 and the Raymond Clapper award. Reporters Chris Adams and Alison Young, in their report, “Discharged and Dishonored”, showed that the Veterans Administration is failing miserably in its service to America’s veterans. Aggressive legal action forced release of records that told the story of missing pensions, veterans not getting educational benefits and disability payments, thousands of errors and misinformation by VA staff. Congress is investigating and reforms are underway. Finalist: Dana Priest, The Washington Post. EDITORIAL CARTOONING Michael Ramirez, Los Angeles Times, receives $10,000 and a trophy. Ramirez’ work reflects his philosophy that an editorial cartoon is not just a funny picture, it’s a fine instrument of journalism that has a point, tells a story, and defines an issue. His cartoons are sharply defined and intelligent. From a wealth of material -- three Supreme Court nominations, Hurricane Katrina, lung cancer deaths, hunger, brinkmanship and scandal -- Ramirez produced poignant cartoons that have a message. Finalists: Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Kevin Kallaugher, The Baltimore Sun. DISTINGUISHED SERVICE TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT Post Register, Idaho Falls, Idaho,receives $10,000 and the Edward Willis Scripps award. The Post Register took on the Boy Scouts in Scout Country, fighting for hidden court files about sexual molestation of boys at Scout camps and facing threats from advertisers and readers. As a result, the Idaho Supreme Court has ordered rules revisions and software changes to prevent file-hiding and sexual predators are in prison and on the state registry. Finalists: Annenberg Public Policy Center, Washington, and The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y. PHOTOJOURNALISM Damon Winter, Los Angeles Times, receives $10,000 and a trophy. From the searing cold of Alaska to the heat of the L.A. fashion show, Winter is equally at ease behind his camera, which is both a window and a mirror. His portraits gaze into the eyes of his subjects, where he finds their story. In a remote EskimoVillage, he told the story of people abused by a lay Catholic missionary 30 years ago. His behind-the-scenes images from L.A.’s Fashion Week are intimate and inventive. His portraits of Hollywood’s stars tell true stories, not the publicist’s version. All celebrate the individual. Finalists: Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, and Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times. BUSINESS/ECONOMICS REPORTING The Seattle Times receives $10,000 and the William Brewster Styles award. Reporters Luke Timmerman and David Heath exposed a little-known but insidious practice that had been growing on Wall Street: Looking to get an investing edge, elite Wall Street firms paid medical researchers to divulge details about their ongoing research into potential new drugs. They found 26 cases in which doctors leaked confidential information. The SEC is investigating and the Association of American Medical Colleges told its members to urge doctors to “scrupulously honor” confidentiality agreements. Finalists: The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, and The Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, Fla. EXCELLENCE IN ELECTRONIC MEDIA/RADIO BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH Boston receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard award. This comprehensive radio report offered a primer on stem cell research, as the interests of science, medicine, politics and religion converge and conflict in the ethical debate over their use. The four-part series examined scientific progress on the research and dramatically different attitudes and practices in China, Israel, Britain and America. Finalists: North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC, Chapel Hill, and Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ, “This American Life” (Petra Bartosiewicz and Sarah Koenig). EXCELLENCE IN ELECTRONIC MEDIA/TV-CABLE WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard award. Executive producers Tom Aviles, Lino Rulli and David Schechter’s “The Last Flagraiser” was, the judges said, “poetry.” The team set out on a personal quest, often using their own resources, to tell the true story of the famous flagraising on Iwo Jima. The real flagraising was not the one immortalized in the picture. That was actually the second flagraising that day. The team found Marine Cpl. Chuck Lindberg, now 84-years-old and living in Minnesota, the last of the true flagraisers still living and finally told his story, setting history aright. Finalists: CNBC, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and WJW-TV, Cleveland. COLLEGE CARTOONING Russell Gottwaldt, F Newsmagazine, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receives $10,000 and the Charles M. Schulz award. Gottwaldt is experimenting with writing and drawing a multi-paged editorial comic, featuring off-beat humor mixed with sophisticated social commentary. His work has alternative appeal, but is still accessible to the mainstream reader. Judges said that his work represents where the cartoon industry is going while building on where it’s been. Finalists: Terrence L. Nowicki Jr., WesternWashingtonUniversity, and Nate Robinson, University of Washington. JOURNALISM TEACHER OF THE YEAR Dr. Louis A. Day, Louisiana State University, will receive $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps award. His school also will receive a $5,000 grant. The award is given in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Knight Foundation and the Freedom Forum. Dr. Day has a passion for teaching, selfless mentoring and helping students think and analyze ethical dilemmas. A dedicated faculty member at LSU for 25 years, he is the author of a “gold standard” ethics textbook. He receives high marks from students and from the junior faculty who look to him as a mentor. JOURNALISM ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR Thomas Kunkel, University of Maryland, will receive $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps award. His school also will receive a $5,000 grant. The award is given in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Knight Foundation and the Freedom Forum. Kunkel is an accomplished reporter and editor, a nationally-acclaimed author of books and magazine articles, the leading scholarly authority on The New Yorker, an overseer of the ambitious “Project on the State of the American Newspaper,” and a prolific researcher. His nominators proclaimed him a great teacher and an accessible, capable administrator “beloved by faculty and students.” Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, literacy, minority recruitment/development and First Amendment causes.