WASHINGTON: With an embarrassment of riches, we are proud to announce the winners of the National Press Foundation’s annual awards. The winners live in El Paso and New York, Buffalo and Houston, and their work covered a school board trying to “disappear” Mexican immigrant kids struggling in school to pump up the scores on standardized tests (oh, and the administrators would be eligible for bonuses); the impact of the Affordable Care Act on school districts in Indiana which didn’t want to pay the required costs so laid off non-professional staffers; Capitol Hill shenanigans in which budgets were “cut” by not including funds that were never allocated – you get the idea.
In the mix we have brand-name stalwarts like Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered, along with the wickedly funny cartoonist Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News; and a new website that uses an impressive array of multi-media tools to tell the story of the conflict in Syria.
The platforms of journalism are changing, and the financial model of journalism in certainly changing, but the quality of journalism exemplified by these winners – and the superb applicants who did not hit the top rung – should give hope to those who embrace NPF’s vision that journalism is an essential tool in creating and nurturing democratic vales.
‘Nuff said. Here are winners. They will receive their awards on March 5, 2014, at NPF’s 31st annual awards dinner:
· Robert Moore,the editor of the El Paso Times, will receive the Benjamin C. Bradlee Award as Editor of the Year for leading his paper’s three-year coverage of corruption within the El Paso Independent School District. The corruption targeted Mexican immigrant students who were moved into grades so they could not take standardized tests; low scores on such tests would deny some administrators’ bonuses. The paper’s investigation uncovered additional corruption and along with Moore’s editorials led to the firing or resignations of school administrators and statewide reform.
· Wolf Blitzer, lead political anchor at CNN, will receive the Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. Blitzer was cited for his energy, encyclopedic knowledge of politics and unique ability to handle multiple story lines while continuing to inform the public.
· Robert Siegel, the senior host of NPR’s All Things Considered, will receive the W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. He is being honored for his insightful interviewing and calm demeanor that elevates his broadcasts.
There were two equal winners of NPF’s own Feddie Award, showing the impact of federal rules and regulations outside the Beltway:
· Bloomberg reporters Mark Drajem and Jack Kaskey showed the consequences in West, Texas, when there was little federal oversight of toxic chemical storage at a manufacturing plant, but also little industry compliance with federal safety rules, resulting in a chemical explosion that killed 14 people;
· Gannett Washington reporter Maureen Groppe showed how school districts and small employers in Indiana were preparing for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by reducing the hours of aides, bus drivers and others to avoid having to cover them;
· The one-time only “Shutdown Feddie” award will go to The Wall Street Journal for a comprehensive look at the federal shutdown’s local impact, from declining customers at a tourism business in the Great Smoky Mountains to an Oregon company’s inability to get needed FCC approvals.
There were also two independent winners of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress:
· Boston Globe Washington bureau reporters and editors worked on a year-long series of 19 stories called “Broken City,” showing how legislative gridlock affects all aspects of the government, what causes it and what might be done to change it.
· Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold showed how accounting tricks masquerade spending cuts during one session of Congress, inadvertently setting up the take-no-prisoners attitude of newly elected conservatives in another.
In two other categories,
· Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News will receive the Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning.
· The website “Syria Deeply” (http://beta.syriadeeply.org) will receive NPF’s Excellence in Online Journalism award for a site that uses video, data graphics, original reporting, Twitter, Google Hangouts and other internet tools to convey the story of the conflict in Syria.
Quite a group, with accolades that are richly deserved.
To learn more about the 2014 NPF Annual Awards Dinner and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jessica Jean-Francois at 202-663-7282, firstname.lastname@example.org or CLICK HERE to view the webpage.
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