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Society Announces Recipients of 2001 Sigma Delta Chi Awards


CONTACTS:Bobby Deckard, SPJ awards coordinator, 317/927-8000 or bdeckard@spj.org; Guy Baehr, SPJ Awards Committee chairman, 732/826-2687or guybaehr@aol.com

INDIANAPOLIS - The Society of Professional Journalists today announces the recipients of the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

In the 2001 contest, 49 winners were named from 1,396 entries. A complete list of winners follows.

“At a trying time for the country and for journalism, it’s all the more important that we hold up the best examples of our craft, which both serve the public and serve to inspire fellow journalists to overcome the various obstacles they face each day,” said SPJ President Al Cross, political writer and columnist for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.

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 awards will be presented Sept. 12-14 at the 2002 SPJ National Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. At the convention, many of the award winners will participate in professional development programs and discuss their work. This summer, winning entries, many in their entirety, will be showcased online in SPJ’s Gallery of Winners.

“The Sigma Delta Chi Awards continue to be one of the most competitive journalism awards programs in the nation,” said Guy Baehr, SPJ Awards Committee chairman. “Our decision last year to expand the number of categories devoted to online journalism – essentially giving it parity with other news media – resulted in a 22-percent increase in online entries.”

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



Deadline Reporting (circulation of 100,000 or greater): “Sept. 11, 2001,” The Associated Press. Extensive wire service coverage of the events of Sept. 11.

Deadline Reporting (circulation of less than 100,000): “The Stankewicz Case,” Mark Scolforo, Jennifer Gish, Kathy Stevens, John Bugbee, and Bill Cahir of The York (Pa.) Dispatch/Sunday News, York, Pa. Coverage of a middle-aged man’s assault on a York County elementary school.

Non-Deadline Reporting (circulation of 100,000 or greater): “One-Ticket Town: The Costs of a Tourism Economy, ” Tim Barker and Mary Shanklin of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel. A series on the effects of the tourism industry on the way of life and the economy in the Orlando metropolitan area.

Non-Deadline Reporting (circulation of less than 100,000): “The Man Behind The Money Pit,” T.J. Sullivan of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star. Report on a bankrupt Southern California financial adviser and his rise and fall.

Investigative Reporting (circulation of 100,000 or greater): “Voiceless and Vulnerable,” Paul McEnroe of Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Investigation into the deaths of developmentally disabled people in Minnesota state-regulated group homes.

Investigative Reporting (circulation of less than 100,000): “Caucuses: Secret Campaign Machines,” Dee J. Hall, Phil Brinkman, Teryl Franklin, Phil Glende, Laura Sparks, Pat Reardon, John Pluym, Steve Apps, Joe Jackson, Joyce Dehli, Mike Rott, and Meg Theno of the Wisconsin State Journal. Part of an ongoing investigation of political and financial corruption within the leadership of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Feature Writing (circulation of 100,000 or greater): “This is How We Live,” Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian. Portrait of an Oregon family struggling with autism.

Feature Writing (circulation of less than 100,000): “Murders in a Small Town,” Jesse A. Hamilton of the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic. Narrative of the investigation of three sensational murders in 1998 of two men and a pregnant woman in the 417-population town of Klickitat, Wash.

Editorial Writing: “Helping People Off the Street,” Alex Raksin and Bob Sipchen of the Los Angeles Times. Collection of editorials exploring the issues and dilemmas of mentally ill people living on the streets.

Washington Correspondence: “Private Prosperities, Public Breakdowns,” Peter G. Gosselin of the Los Angeles Times. An examination of the disparity in investments in personal luxuries in America in the 1990s and spending on common needs.

Foreign Correspondence: Terrorism Package, Jack Kelley of USA Today. Extensive reporting on terrorism and the Middle East, including articles on Osama bin Laden published a full seven months before 9/11, firsthand account of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and post 9/11 terrorism.

General Column Writing: Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times. Collection of columns including such topics as professional passengers and the carpool lane, a colleague attacked by a seven-foot lizard, an overzealous park ranger, Sept. 11, and more.

Sports Column Writing: Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post. Collection of sports columns including such subjects as Dale Earnhardt, Katharine Graham, Little Leaguer Danny Almonte, the Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras rivalry, and sports in the wake of Sept. 11.

Public Service (circulation of 100,000 or greater): “Destined to Die,” Bonnie Harris and Bill Theobald of The Indianapolis Star. Series which resulted from a six-month investigation into high animal euthanization rates by shelters run by the city of Indianapolis and the Humane Society of Indianapolis.

Public Service (circulation of less than 100,000): “Building Bridges,” Staff of The Eagle-Tribune in Lawrence, Mass. Series about relations between local Latinos and Anglos and what unites and divides them. The main story of each part ran in Spanish as well as English.


Magazine Writing: “If You Want to Humble an Empire,” Nancy Gibbs of TIME Magazine. Coverage of all Sept. 11 events in one story. Nearly 10,000-word piece prepared for a special edition of TIME released just two days after the attacks.

Public Service in Magazine Journalism: “Why They Hate Us,” Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek. Article focusing on the cultural and economic gaps between the Arab and western worlds of the past three decades.

Magazine Investigative Reporting: “Danger Terror Ahead” and “Trail of Terror,” Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball with additional reporting by Martha Brant and Roy Gutman and the Newsweek Investigative Team. Investigation into Osama bin Laden’s network and its danger to Americans published a full seven months before Sept. 11.


Photography Spot News: “Firemen Flag Raising,” Thomas E. Franklin of The Record in Hackensack, N.J. Photo of firefighters raising American flag at Ground Zero

Photography Features: “Caught in the Struggle and Strife - Images from Pakistan,” Peter Tobia of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Photos depicting the story of the people of Pakistan and how they live their daily lives.

Photography Sports: “God Plays Through,” Gene Lower of Slingshot Photography and Sports Illustrated. Stephen Sakraida (silhouetted) completes swing as lightning strikes in the background.

Photo Illustration: “Circle of Friends,” Carlos Gonzalez of the San Francisco Chronicle. A photo illustration developed for a story on meeting people and making friends online.

Editorial Cartooning: Clay Bennett of The Christian Science Monitor. Collection of cartoons.

Informational Graphics: “Attack on America,” Staff of The Orange County (Calif.) Register. Extensive graphic depictions of Sept. 11 and events that followed. Including Ground Zero and Pentagon attacks, minute-by-minute timeline of the WTC attacks, proposed airplane safety measures, WTC clean up, search and rescue efforts, and more.


Breaking News Reporting: “September 11th: A Local Radio Station Responds,” WNYC Radio News Department in New York.

Investigative Reporting: “Coltan and Eastern Congo’s Gorillas,” Carolyn Jensen, executive producer (NPR); Donald Smith, executive producer (NGS); Alex Chadwick, Jessica Goldstein, William McQuay, Charles Thompson and edited by Christopher Joyce of NPR and the National Geographic Society. Report on illegal Coltan miners and their endangerment of some of the world's great wildlife parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Feature Reporting: “Cruces” (Crosses/Crossings), Javier Lizarzaburu of BBC-Spanish. Series of programs on U.S. and Mexico relations with a focus on the California-Mexico border. Broadcast in Spanish.

Documentaries: “Learning to Live: James’ Story,” Dan Collison, producer; James Robinson, narrator/reporter; Amanda Klonsky, personnel; Gary Covino, Editor; Johanna Zorn, executive producer (WBEZ); Ellen Weiss, executive producer (NPR) of DC Productions in Chicago. Documents the journey of an ex-offender as he makes the transition from repeated prison sentences to life in the free world. The piece is narrated and co-written by the ex-offender. Broadcast on NPR and WBEZ.

Public Service in Radio Journalism: “Energy Crisis” series, Cyrus Musiker of KQED-FM in San Francisco, Calif. Series on the California Energy Crisis.


Breaking News Coverage (Network/Top 25 Markets): “Attack on America,” Tom Brokaw and executive producers David Corvo, Beth O’Connell, and Steve Capus of Dateline NBC. Uninterrupted live coverage of the events that began on Sept. 11. Broadcast included live updates and in-depth reports of the day’s events.

Breaking News Coverage (All other markets): “September 11: Austin, Texas,” Staff of News 8 Austin. While network affiliates were telling the national story, this local station informed local residents of how their lives and Austin would be impacted by the events of Sept. 11.

Investigative Reporting (Network/Top 25 Markets): “ABC News Investigative Reports Post 9/11,” ABC News Staff (correspondents: John Miller and Brian Ross; senior producers: Chris Isham, Terri Lichtstein, Stu Schutzman, and Joan Martelli). A compilation of breaking, investigative reports about the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Investigative Reporting (All other markets): “The Secret Report,” Hagit Limor, Gary Hughes, Paul Grundy, Michael Bendic, and Bob Morford of WCPO-TV, Cincinnati. Report that cracked the secret behind why doctors leave Cincinnati and why new ones do not want to move there.

Feature Reporting (Network/Top 25 Markets): “Lost Boys,” Tom Brokaw, correspondent; David Corvo and Neal Shapiro, senior executive producers; Marc Rosenwasser, executive producer; Rebecca Haggerty and Lisa Britton Parker, producers of Dateline NBC/NBC News. Story of a group of orphaned young refugees from Sudan fleeing their brutal homeland to forge a new life in the United States.

Feature Reporting (All other markets): “Precious Cargo,” Janet Gardner, Pham Quoc Thai, Len McClure, and Nicole Domenici of Independent Television Service and The Gardner Documentary Group in New York. Documentary follows bittersweet journey of group of Vietnamese young people, among 2,700 children with American fathers and Vietnamese mothers who were taken to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon and adopted by American families, as they travel back.

Documentaries (Network/Top 25 Markets): “GunShots,” Doug Hamilton, Emily Lundberg, Josiah Hooper, Katie Galloway, Emma Mergaf, Burt Glass, Dan Noyes, and Sue Ellen McCann of the Center for Investigative Reporting, KQED, and theRake.com in San Francisco. Investigates the largest gun trafficking case ever prosecuted in the San Francisco Bay Area and loopholes in how guns are regulated.

Documentaries (All other markets): “Skull Valley: Radioactive Waste and the American West,” KUED-TV in Salt Lake City. Documents the complex, multi-level battle over the proposed storage of 80 millions pounds of high level nuclear waste in the west desert landscape of Utah - a battle involving federal, state, local and tribal governments.

Public Service in Television Journalism (Network/Top 25 Markets): “Outside the Lines - Broken Trust: Coaches and Sexual Abuse,” Steve Anderson, Robert T. Eaton and Vince Doria executive producers; Craig T. Lazarus, senior coordinating producer; Brian Leonard, coordinating producer of ESPN. Report on coaches who abuse athletes in youth leagues and why parents should be more cautious.

Public Service in Television Journalism (All other markets): “Baby on Board,” Chris Koeberl, Nickie Flynn, Dan Stamness, and Dennis Decker of KWCH 12 Eyewitness News in Wichita, Kan. Series aimed at showing Kansas residents how to use child-protection devices in their vehicles and the consequences if they don’t.


Public Service in Newsletter Journalism: “Education Matters” Series, Dan Weissmann, Liz Duffrin, Maureen Kelleher, Mick Dumke, Sarah Karp, and Brian Rogal of Catalyst and The Chicago Reporter. Collaborative series investigating major challenges confronting the Chicago Public Schools.


Research About Journalism: “The Elements of Journalism,” Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism in Washington, D.C. An attempt to outline and explain the theory of journalism by which most newspeople operate.


Deadline Reporting (Affiliated): “Shooting of Tampa Police Officer,” Tampa Bay Online in partnership with The Tampa Tribune and WFLA News Channel 8. Extensive breaking online coverage of a Tampa police officer killed in the line of duty by a fleeing suspect. Complete with video, audio, and photo segments.

Deadline Reporting (Independent): “Microsoft’s Reprieve,” Staff of CNET News.com in San Francisco. Extensive special coverage and analysis of a 125-page appeals court decision and its impact in the Microsoft anti-trust case. Complete with video.

Non-Deadline Reporting (Affiliated): “How We’ve Changed,” Geraldine Sealey of ABCNEWS.com. A story of How Sept. 11 led many Americans to alter their lives in large and small ways

Non-Deadline Reporting (Independent): “Why Enron investors are running for the exits,” Jon D. Markman of MSN Money. A detailed explaination of the underpinnings of the Enron story.

Investigative Reporting (Affiliated): “Uninformed Consent,” Staff of seattletimes.com. A five-part investigative series into the premature deaths of patients in failed clinical experiments.

Investigative Reporting (Independent): “Buying Into Trouble,” Staff of CNET News.com. Insight into the workings of a large software company.

Public Service in Online Journalism (Affiliated): “Great Flood of 2001,” HoustonChronicle.com staff of the Houston Chronicle. Comprehensive coverage of Tropical Storm Allison.

Public Service in Online Journalism (Independent): “Watchdogs on Short Leashes,” Kenneth Vogel and Meleah Rush of The Center for Public Integrity. Web site which allows citizens to evaluate how state legistlatures are (or are not) being monitored for ethical behavior.

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