Scripps Howard Awards Honor Nation’s Best 2012 Journalism

March 13, 2013

The Scripps Howard Foundation today announced the winners of its annual Scripps Howard Awards, honoring the best work in the communications industry and journalism education in 2012.

Established in 1953, the Scripps Howard Foundation’s national journalism awards competition is open to news organizations based in the U.S. and recognizes outstanding print, broadcast and online journalism in 15 categories. Two additional categories honor college journalism and mass communication educators for excellence in administration and teaching.

Winners will receive a total of $175,000 and trophies May 9 at a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Fla. Dinner co-hosts are the Scripps Howard Foundation; its corporate founder, The E.W. Scripps Company; and the Naples Daily News, a Scripps publication.

New this year is a category for digital innovation and expansion of the television and cable competition to honor excellence in two categories, one for in-depth local coverage and another for in-depth national and international coverage.

“Some of the categories offered by the Scripps Howard Awards have changed the past 60 years to reflect the industry’s evolution,” said Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “But the core values of journalism – accuracy, fairness, context, storytelling and a deep respect for the First Amendment – remain guiding principles.”

Entries in the journalism categories were judged by 51 industry experts, who assembled for two days at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. Each category was assigned a separate panel of judges and their decisions are final. Selected as winners and finalists:


Spencer S. Hsu of The Washington Post receives the $15,000 Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize, given in cooperation with Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication and the Farfel Endowment, for “Forensic Science.” The series exposed the Justice Department’s use of flawed data in more than 20,000 criminal convictions. Congress, the courts and the FBI have responded to the series, and now hundreds, if not thousands, of defendants will get another chance at justice.

Finalists: Alison Young and Peter Eisler of USA Today for “Ghost Factories;” and Sally Kestin and John Maines of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for “Above the Law: Speeding Cops.”


The Wall Street Journal receives $10,000 and the Edward Willis Scripps Award for “Watched,” an ongoing project that exposes secretive ways personal information is tracked and used by corporate data-gatherers and government trackers.

Finalists: Scott Shane and Charlie Savage of The New York Times for “The U.S.  Government’s Crackdown on Leaks;” and Danielle Ivory, Jim Snyder, Phil Mattingly and Hans Nichols of Bloomberg News for “Untangling the Freedom of Information Act: A Test of Obama’s Transparency Pledge.”


Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune receive $10,000 and the Roy W. Howard Award for “Playing with Fire.” Their series exposed how the chemical and tobacco industries waged a deceptive, decades-long campaign to promote the use of flame-retardant furniture. As a result, the U.S. Senate has held two hearings, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun a broad investigation and an industry front group exposed by the Tribune has folded.

Finalists: Judges for this category selected the same entries judges for investigative reporting chose as finalists: Alison Young and Peter Eisler of USA Today for “Ghost Factories;” and Sally Kestin and John Maines of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for “Above the Law: Speeding Cops.”


Michael M. Phillips of The Wall Street Journal receives $10,000 and the Ernie Pyle Award for “War’s Wake,” a chronicle of America’s newest post-war generation and the manner in which Iraq and Afghanistan have marked the nation’s psyche.

Finalist: ProPublica for “Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala” by Sebastian Rotella in collaboration with Ana Arana of Fundacion MEPI.


The Denver Post receives $10,000 and a trophy for its coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 injured.

Finalist: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press for its coverage of Superstorm Sandy at the Jersey Shore.


The New York Times receives $10,000 and a trophy for a portfolio of work that included “Snow Fall,” which chronicled the harrowing story of 16 expert skiers caught in an avalanche at Tunnel Creek.

Finalists: ProPublica for developing news applications that gather, present and analyze data for investigative stories; and Reuters for “The Wider Image.”


KMGH-TV in Denver receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for “Investigating the Fire,” which uncovered governmental mismanagement of a wildfire that took three lives and destroyed more than 20 homes. The coverage called for adequate compensation for victims and statewide reform.

Finalists: Craig Cheatham and Jim Thomas of KMOV-TV in St. Louis for “War Zone: The Destruction of an All-American City;” and John Ferrugia, Arthur Kane, Jason Foster and Jeff Harris of KMGH-TV in Denver for “A Threat Ignored: The Aurora Theater Shooting Investigation.”


John Carlos Frey, John Larson and Brian Epstein of the PBS newsmagazine “Need to Know” and The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute receive $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for their collaborative series, “Crossing the Line at the Border.” Their documentation of abuses by the U.S. Border Patrol led members of Congress to call for an internal review, and the United Nations to address what it called “an international issue of concern.”

Finalist: Jill Rosenbaum of PBS Frontline and David Heath of The Center for Public Integrity for their collaborative entry “Dollars and Dentists.”


Robert Wildeboer and Cate Cahan of WBEZ, Chicago Public Media receive $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for “Grandma Can’t Accept Your Calls.” The series exposed excessive phone charges for inmates at Cook County Jail and led to a 75 percent rate reduction.

Finalist: Joe Shapiro of NPR for “Human Tissue Donation.”


Brandon Stahl of the News Tribune in Duluth, Minn., receives $10,000 and a trophy for “Methadone: A Costly Fix.” The series prompted calls for statewide reform in the treatment of drug addiction.

Finalists: Jocelyn Wiener, Ken Carlson and Lauren Whaley of the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) Center for Health Reporting at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, for “Mental Breakdown;” and Joy Blackburn of The Virgin Islands Daily News for “Our Money, Their Failures.”


Kenneth R. Weiss and Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times receive $10,000 and the Edward J. Meeman Award for “Beyond 7 Billion.” Their five-part series tackles the questions: “Can we live sustainably on this planet and for how long?”

Finalists: Lisa Song, Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer of InsideClimate News for “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of;” and Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica for “Injection Wells: The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground.”


Lou Kilzer, Andrew Conte and Jim Wilhelm of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review receive $10,000 and the William Brewster Styles Award for “$hadow Economy.” Their series demonstrates how almost anyone can set-up an offshore account and create a shell company.

Finalist: Jill Riepenhoff and Mike Wagner of The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch for “Credit Scars.”


Tim Nickens of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., receives $10,000 and the Walker Stone Award for editorials on issues ranging from voter suppression to public health.

Finalists: Andie Dominick of the Des Moines Register for a campaign to help Iowans secure health insurance; and Rebecca Troyer of the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., for a collection of editorials on the role of government.


James Carroll of The Boston Globe receives $10,000 and a trophy for columns that brought historical perspective to 2012’s headline news.

Finalists: James E. Causey of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who called for a police chief’s resignation and better health care for the poor; and Morgan Housel of The Motley Fool, who put politicians’ election-year claims into factual context.


Lisa Krantz of the San Antonio Express-News receives $10,000 and a trophy for a portfolio that offered diversity of topic and approach, from rural Texas to the national political stage, and a mother’s love for her soldier-son who was severely injured in Afghanistan.

Finalists: Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times for large projects such as “Beyond 7 Billion” and daily assignments; and Jahi Chikwendiu of The Washington Post for images of post-war life in Iraq and everyday life in Washington, D.C.

“The Scripps Howard Foundation is also proud to recognize two of the nation’s finest journalism and mass communication educators,” said Philipps. “Their dedication to preparing future journalists for our changing industry is an inspiration to us all.”

The following educators will be honored Aug. 8 in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication at the keynote session of the annual AEJMC conference in Washington, D.C.


Tim Gleason, dean, School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, receives $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Award. No finalist was named in this category.


Jennifer George-Palilonis, professor, Department of Journalism, Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., receives $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Award.

Finalists: Kathleen B. Culver, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Cindy Royal, associate professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Texas State University at San Marcos.

An awards program book and video featuring the winners and their work will be available online at after the May 9 presentations. The award-winning entries may be reviewed at

Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, literacy, minority recruitment/development and First Amendment causes. With a special commitment to the regions where Scripps does business, the foundation helps build healthy communities and improve the quality of life through support of sound educational programs, strong families, vital social services, enriching arts and culture and inclusive civic affairs.

Scripps ( delivers quality journalism and creates valuable marketing environments through television stations, newspapers and a growing menu of digital products and services that now includes social games. Creative and mission-driven employees “give light so the people can find their own way” at 19 television stations in major U.S. markets and at newspapers in 13 markets.