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MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin receives SPJ New America Award for investigation of immigration reform



Chad Hosier, SPJ Awards Coordinator, 317.920.4791, chosier@spj.org
Ellen Kobe, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317.920.4785, ekobe@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to name Benjy Sarlin of MSNBC as the recipient of its New America Award, which honors work that explores and exposes issues of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities living in the U.S.

The entry, “Changing America: The 2013 immigration fight,” tells the narrative of immigration reform on the national level, which will determine the fate of millions of people living in many areas of the United States. The three stories submitted for the award cover families that are hoping they won’t be torn apart by deportation, activists working to reform the immigration law and a Republican congressman trying to navigate pressure both from his political party and the increasing Latino vote.

“Sarlin’s series shines light on the way in which a changing America on the local level has pushed immigration on the national stage,” said Dafna Linzer, managing editor of msnbc.com, who nominated Sarlin for the award. “He traces the outcomes of three different approaches to immigration reform, with an eye to the implications for the potential consequences at a national level.”

The series was chosen due in large part to its balance of reporting, as three different, yet equally important, perspectives of the issue were covered.

“Immigration is an emotionally-charged issue, but Sarlin was able to take the emotions and use them to drive the story from a dispassionate point of view,” said Becky Tallent, one of the three contest judges. “The fact both sides and the middle were well covered by using a very thoughtful approach made this ‘common immigration story’ uncommon and unique.

You can read Sarlin’s articles online:
How America’s harshest immigration law failed
On immigration, GOP swing votes want it both ways
New immigration laws split America in two

More immigration coverage is available on MSNBC’s “Changing America” website.

This is the 10th year the award has been presented. The recipients will be honored Sept. 6 at the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet during the Excellence in Journalism conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Tickets for the conference, which provides journalists with the industry’s best training and networking opportunities, can be purchased here.

For complete details on the New America Award, including past recipients, please click here or contact SPJ at 317.920.4791.

Thank you to this year's judges, Rebecca Tallent, Paul Fletcher and Ginny Frizzi.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit http://www.spj.org/.

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