The National Press Foundation recognizes extraordinary journalism excellence in its slate of award winners. These journalists will be honored at NPF’s annual awards dinner Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award
Gilbert Bailon, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will receive the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award for guiding his news organization through the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the tumultuous aftermath. See a collection of the Post-Dispatch's work here.
The judges said: “If ever a newspaper and its editor faced a real-time stress test, it was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and editor Gilbert Bailon in 2014. From the shooting of Michael Brown in August through the November announcement by the grand jury, the Post-Dispatch was under pressure. But it delivered for its readers and the larger St. Louis community with a breadth of coverage that is truly impressive. Hundreds of stories, dozens of editorials, every piece of evidence – all were there either in print or on the paper’s website. Most striking were the photographs, often taken at great personal risk to the photographers. Throughout it all, Bailon was a strong presence both in the community and in his newsroom, fighting for access and striving to keep the coverage balanced and emotions in check.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism
Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the Knight Foundation, will receive the W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. See Knight's work here.
NPF judges said: “As publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, board chairman of PBS and the Newseum, and now as President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Alberto Ibargüen has been one of the world's leading champions of journalism excellence and innovation. He was among the first to grasp the challenges and opportunities presented by the ways technology is changing how news is gathered, disseminated and consumed, and throughout his career, Alberto has used his legal and business skills to help journalism grow and thrive amid rapid change.”
Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress
Gregory Johnsen, John Stanton and Kate Nocera of BuzzFeed News will receive an Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress. See the centerpiece titled "60 Words and A War Without End" here.
NPF judges said: “BuzzFeed’s 10,500-word article is a magisterial account of a 60-word congressional resolution, the vaguely worded language that authorized military action against the ‘nations, organizations, or persons’ deemed responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The consequences of that resolution, passed with only a single dissenting vote, continue to reverberate across the globe. BuzzFeed captures the historic drama of that moment and all that has happened since, from Capitol Hill to the offices of Executive Branch lawyers to the targets of U.S. commando attacks in Libya and Somalia. The details are unforgettable—and so is the unsparing focus on how the Bush and Obama administrations have each used these 60 words, ‘unbound by time and unlimited by geography,’ to wage a global war with no clear rules and no visible end.”
Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress
Drew Griffin of CNN won an Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress for a year-long project titled “Congress for Sale,” which focused on questionable financial ties between lobbyists and members of Congress. See the stories here.
NPF judges said: “Drew Griffin produced a profound series of pieces illuminating the dark side of elected officials and big business. It succinctly explained how members of Congress abuse enormous amounts of money for personal gain. It took the veil off the relationship between lobbyists, politicians, and the town they work in.”
Feddie Award for Reporting on Federal Rules and Local Impact
Thomas Frank is awarded NPF’s “Feddie” award for explaining how federal policy affects local government in an extraordinary package on a rash of fatalities and crashes by small aircraft. See the project here.
The judges said: “USA Today’s Thomas Frank’s investigation reveals that a small plane or helicopter crashes almost every day, often killing everyone onboard. In “Unfit for Flight”, Frank discloses how defective parts and unsafe aircraft, often concealed from the public and government regulators, contribute to these deaths. This well-reported story is convincing not just because of the way it presents facts in text, but because it effectively uses the techniques of digital journalism: video, animation and responsive design. This is modern journalism at its best.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning
Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press will receive the Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning. A gallery of Bennett’s work can be seen here.
The judges said: “The judges saw elegant simplicity in Clay Bennett’s work – clear drawings, clear messages. Bennett’s style is disarming and charming with a strong bite underneath. His humor is subtle and witty.”
Excellence in Online Journalism Award
NPF judges said: “Re/code's coverage of technology is exceptional in its breadth. Lots of original reviews and smart commentary inform top-notch reporting on an industry that changes constantly. After leaving Dow Jones, founders Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher have pulled off an amazingly strong relaunch and rebrand in a highly competitive environment.”
Mark Chediak, Chris Martin, Ken Wells, Jim Polson
Thomas L. Stokes Award for Energy Writing
The Bloomberg reporters’ project, titled “Twilight of the Grid,” outlined the issues facing the nation’s power grid. See the project here.
NPF judges said: “This Bloomberg series opens a window on a downside to green energy that few lay people had previously thought about. Extensive reporting facilitated compelling anecdotes that helped explain complex challenges to the centralized power grid.”
Heather Dahl, chairman of the NPF Board of Directors, said the work of the award winners is a celebration of the value of journalism. “These awards are a testament to the vitality of what we do in society. I very much hope that in our recognition of the winners' contribution to journalism and society, these awards and their work will inspire others to reach higher and dig deeper in their reporting,” she said.
The National Press Foundation is a nonprofit journalism organization that conducts all-expenses-paid programs for journalists in the U.S., internationally and online. NPF hosts a robust collection of reporting resources on its website, www.nationalpress.org.
The awards will be presented at NPF’s 32nd annual gala awards dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the Washington Hilton Hotel. For dinner information contact Jessica Jean-Francois at Jessica@nationalpress.org, or call 202-663-7282.