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SPJ Names Winners of the 2000 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism


Contacts: Bobby Deckard, SPJ awards coordinator, 317/927-8000 ext. 218 or bdeckard@spj.org; Guy Baehr, SPJ Awards Committee chairman, 973/392-1538 or gbaehr@starledger.com.

INDIANAPOLIS - The Society of Professional Journalists today announces the recipients of the 2000 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism.
"These awards recognize the best work of some of the nation's top professionals," said Ray Marcano, president of the Society of Professional Journalists and an assistant managing editor for the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. "They should be proud of their accomplishments, and we're equally as proud to make these awards on behalf of their excellent work."

The Society's first national awards honoring excellence in journalism were presented in 1932 to six individuals for contributing to "the dignity and responsibility to the profession of journalism." In 1939, Sigma Delta Chi, forerunner of SPJ, established the first Distinguished Service Awards competition. These awards later became the Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

"The journalism recognized by these awards sets both the pace and standard for working journalists across the nation," said Paul K. McMasters, president of the SDX Foundation board of directors, a former SPJ national president and First Amendment Ombudsman at The Freedom Forum. "At a time when it's popular to bash the press, the work represented here is irrefutable evidence that excellence in journalism is alive and well and that thousands of reporters and editors go to work every day intent on making a difference in the lives of their communities and setting an example for their colleagues."

Contest judges are selected from among the Society's members and from nonmembers across the nation, each of whom has established a reputation for journalistic excellence in his or her own right.

The 2000 contest drew 1,542 entries in 45 categories. A complete list of winners follows.

The awards will be presented Oct. 4-6 at the 2001 SPJ National Convention in Seattle/Bellevue, Wash. At the convention, many of the award winners will participate in professional development programs and discuss their work.



Deadline Reporting (circulation 100,000 or greater)

Stephanie Desmon and Antigone Barton of The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post won for their coverage of the Lake Worth Middle School shooting.

Deadline Reporting (circulation under 100,000)

The staff of the Great Falls Tribune for, "Bar-Jonah charged with killing Ramsay," a report on charges filed against a Great Falls, Mont., man for kidnapping a young boy, butchering him and feeding the boy's body to others.
Non-Deadline Reporting (circulation 100,000 or greater)
Judy L. Thomas of The Kansas City (Mo.) Star won for "AIDS in the Priesthood," a comprehensive study on the Catholic priesthood and its AIDS epidemic.

Non-Deadline Reporting (circulation under 100,000)

Darrin Mortenson, William Brown, Jason Robbins and J. Lowe Davis of The Virgin Islands Daily News won for "Vieques: In Whose Defense? At Whose Expense?" - a special report detailing both sides of the battle between the natives of the island of Vieques and the U.S. Navy over the Navy's weapons training facility on the island.

Investigative Reporting (circulation 100,000 or greater)

Joe A. Stephens, Mary Pat Flaherty, Deborah Nelson, Karen Deyoung, John Pomfret, Sharon LaFraniere and Doug Struck of The Washington Post won for "The Body Hunters," an international investigation of risky American medical human experiments in Third World countries.

Investigative Reporting (circulation under 100,000)

Cameron W. Barr of the Christian Science Monitor won for "Battalion 745: A Brutal Exit," a series documenting the violent departure of an Indonesian military unit from its base in East Timor.

Feature Reporting (circulation 100,000 or greater)

Tom Hallman, Jr. of The Oregonian won for "Boy Behind the Mask," the compassionate story of a horribly deformed youngster who risked everything on a dangerous surgery he hoped would make him look more normal.

Feature Reporting (circulation under 100,000)

Roy Wenzl of The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle won for "The Hero's Son," a four-part serial narrative of how a young boy who lost his father to war came to finally grieve the loss nearly 50 years later.

Editorial Writing

Dan Moffett of The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post won for a three-part editorial series - "Dishonoring the Vets" - calling for changes in the Veterans Benefit Administration that will give veterans the help they deserve after their sacrifices.

Washington Correspondence

Ron Fournier of The Associated Press won for his extensive coverage of the political drama of the 2000 Presidential Election.

Foreign Correspondence

Ian Johnson of The Wall Street Journal won for "A Death in China," a report of China's repression of the Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

General Column Writing

Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won for a collection of columns.

Sports Column Writing

Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post won for a collection of sports columns.

Public Service (circulation 100,000 or greater)

Mark Katches, William Heisel, Ronald Campbell, Michael Goulding and Sharon Henry of The Orange County (Calif.) Register won for "Body Brokers," a five-part series and follow-ups on tissue donation that changed laws, sparked a federal investigation and prompted widespread industry reform.

Public Service (circulation under 100,000)

Staff members of The Eagle-Tribune in Lawrence, Mass., won for "Unrealized Assets," a series brainstorming with the public on how to capitalize on the assets of its core city, Lawrence, Mass.


Magazine Writing

Robert Lee Hotz of the Los Angeles Times won for "Searching for Lost Honor," the story of Hotz's quest to discover exactly what happened to his uncle, William Archibald Willison, who perished at Dunkirk in 1940 as the Germans pushed the British to the sea.

Public Service in Magazine Journalism

Peter Perl of The Washington Post Magazine won for "Poisoned Package," a detailed report on the institutional causes of food poisoning outbreaks and the most lethal - and one of the least well-known - food poisoning outbreaks in the United States in 15 years.

Magazine Investigative Reporting

Donald Barlett, James B. Steele , Andrew Goldstein, Laura Karmatz and Daniel Levy of TIME Magazine won for "Big Money and Politics: Who Gets Hurt," a nine-month investigation of campaign financing that delves into what happens to those who make donations and what happens to the tens of millions who don't.


Photography Spot News

Alan Diaz of The Associated Press won for "Elian," photos of the federal raid on the house of the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzales.

Photography Features

Matt Rainey of The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., won for "After the Fire," a photographic story of two students seriously burned in a dorm form at Seton Hall University.

Editorial Cartooning

Nick Anderson of The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., won for editorial cartoons covering the 2000 Election, Elian Gonzales and the NRA.

Informational Graphics

William Pitzer, JoAnne Miller, Tom Tozer and Gina Nania of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer won for "Inside the Hunley," a detailed and compelling visual tour of the Civil War submersible H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship.


Spot News Reporting (Radio)

Staff members of CBS Radio News won for "The Supreme Court Decides," an hour-long special report of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Florida presidential recounts.

Continuing Reporting of a Breaking Event (Radio)

Buzz Conover and Susan Gage of Florida Public Radio Network won for coverage of the 2000 Presidential Election, filing more than 100 stories for the network and providing live coverage of court cases, speeches and news conferences.

Investigative Reporting (Radio)

Doug Sovern of KCBS Radio in San Francisco won for "Follow the Money," a series of reports on the campaign contributions received by the major political players in California.

Feature Reporting (Radio)

Mark Urycki of WKSU-FM in Kent, Ohio, won for "Remembering Kent State, 1970," a look back to the shootings at Kent State University 30 years ago.

Documentaries (Radio)

David Isay and Stacy Abramson of Sound Portraits Production in New York City won for "Witness to an Execution," a documentary that premiered on NPR's All Things Considered and tells the story of the men and women who participate in, carry out and witness multiple executions as part of their jobs at the Walls Unit in Hunstville, Texas.

Public Service in Radio Journalism

Jim Bickal, Cara Hetland, Laura McCallum, Tim Pugmire and Bill Wareham of Minnesota Public Radio won for in-depth coverage of Minnesota's new graduation standards.


Spot News Coverage (Network/Top 40)

The staff of CBS Evening News with Russ Mitchell won for "Elian Reunited," breaking news coverage of the federal raid on the house of the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzales.

Spot News Coverage (All other markets)


Continuing Reporting of a Breaking Event (Network/Top 40)

David Boeri, Jack Harper, Gail Huff, Mary Saladna and Ray Smith of WCVB-TV in Needham, Mass., won for "On the Trail of Whitey Bulger and the FBI," an ongoing series that highlights the history and a fresh break in a decades-old case involving James "Whitey" Bulger, one of the FBI's 10 most-wanted fugitives.

Continuing Reporting of a Breaking Event (All other markets)

KECI-TV News Team in Missoula, Mont., won for "Montana Wildfires: Up in Flames," continuing coverage of the state's 2000 fire season.

Investigative Reporting (Network/Top 40)

Anna Werner, David Raziq and Chris Henao of KHOU-TV in Houston won for "Treading on Danger?" - a nine-month investigation into defective Firestone tires and the tragic accidents that prompted U.S. and international tire recalls.

Investigative Reporting (All other markets)

Tom Grant, Adele Steiger and Tim Connor of KXLY-TV in Spokane, Wash., won for "Public Funds, Private Profit: The Secret Deal Behind a Public-Private Partnership," a yearlong examination of how Spokane's most powerful family cut a special deal with the city to build an exclusive mall in the heart of Spokane.

Feature Reporting (Network/Top 40)

The staff of Dateline NBC won for "War and Remembrance," an emotional story of one Vietnam veteran's struggle to triumph over the guilt, bitterness and heartbreak he suffered as a result of fighting in the war.

Feature Reporting (All other markets)

Claudine Wong and Don Schoenfeld of WNDU-TV in South Bend, Ind., won for "A Miracle for Alex," a vivid description of one family's struggle to help a 3-year-old daughter to live a life without debilitating seizures.

Documentaries (Network/Top 40)

ABC News staff members won for "ABC News Special: Hopkins 24/7," a six-part series that delves into life at one of America's leading medical centers, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Documentaries (All other markets)

Danny Schechter of Globalvision in New York City won for "Falun Gong's Challenge to China," an in-depth exploration into the story of a major human rights conflict in China - Falun Gong, a movement that has captured the loyalty of millions of members.

Public Service in Television Journalism (Network/Top 40)

Staff members of KRON4 News in San Francisco won for "Beating the Odds," an on-going series of news stories, specials and public service announcements that profile low-income, high-risk kids who are overcoming tremendous obstacles.

Public Service in Television Journalism (All other markets)

Tracy Sadeghian, Schewislzer Lewis and Traci Richardson of WRDW-TV in North Augusta, S.C., won for "Nursing Home Nightmare? (Revisited)," an investigation that uncovered substandard and abusive conditions and prompted legislators to strengthen the state's regulatory system.


Public Service in Newsletter Journalism

Greg Freeman and Lee Landenberger of American Health Consultants in Atlanta won for "With ABC camera crews in house, Johns Hopkins limited its risk of liability," an in-depth look at how Johns Hopkins and other health-care institutions might be exposing themselves to tremendous liability in the pursuit of publicity.


Research About Journalism

Marilyn Greenwald and Joseph Bernt of the Iowa State University Press won for "The Big Chill: Investigative Reporting in the Current Media Environment," which discusses current issues regarding the influence of corporatization and its impact on investigative reporting, the changing perceptions of investigative reporting, the effects of tabloid television, ethical and legal issues raised in today's media environment, the treatment of minority groups, and the use of the newest technology for investigative reporting.


Deadline Reporting

The staff of ABCNEWS.com won for "Dead at Seas: Tragedy Aboard the Russian Submarine Kursk," which provided comprehensive detail and visuals in their online coverage of the Kursk submarine incident and the international efforts to rescue the 118 sailors aboard.

Non-Deadline Reporting

Tim Connor of Camas Magazine won for "Secret Deal," an investigative report about a controversial public/private partnership gone so terribly wrong that it threatened to ruin the fiscal health of Spokane, Washington state's second-largest city.

Public Service in Online Journalism

David Slade, Robert Laylo, James E. Wilkerson, Chris Krewson, Jaleel Beck and Chris Unger of The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., won for "Tomorrow's taxes," an ongoing series covering a court-ordered property-tax reassessment in Carbon County, Pa.

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