photo of Scripps building in Cincinnati

Scripps Howard Awards honor best journalism in the nation in 2013

March 20, 2014 By Carolyn Micheli

For immediate release
Thu, March 20, 2014

CINCINNATI – The Scripps Howard Foundation is proud to announce the winners and finalists of its annual Scripps Howard Awards, honoring the best work in the communications industry and journalism education in 2013.

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 $180,000 and trophies.

Recipients of journalism awards will be honored at a dinner May 22 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, home of event co-hosts: the Scripps Howard Foundation; its corporate founder, The E.W. Scripps Company; and Scripps television station WCPO, Channel 9. Educators will be honored Aug. 6 in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) during the keynote session of its annual conference, held this year in Montreal.

“Even though the communications industry is undergoing profound changes, our competitions continue to attract more outstanding entrants every year,” said Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Nationwide, we see a deep commitment to the core values of journalism – accuracy, fairness, context, storytelling and a deep respect for the First Amendment. We are also seeing more collaborative work by profit and not-for-profit media organizations.”

Entries in the journalism categories were judged by 52 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.

Winners and finalists learned of their selection during a webcast the public can access online at Receiving 2013 Scripps Howard Awards are the following media outlets and journalists:


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel receives the Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize for Investigative Reporting and $20,000 for “Deadly Delays,” a series that uncovered mismanagement of infant blood tests at hospitals nationwide. Judges predict the Journal Sentinel’s work will “save the lives of children around the country.”

Finalists: Rong-Gong (Ron) Lin II, Doug Smith and Rosanna Xia of the Los Angeles Times for “L.A.’s Earthquake Risks,” a series that advised policy-makers and the public on how best to prepare for the next “big one.” Also, Karisa King of the San Antonio Express-News for “Twice Betrayed,” an examination of sexual assault in the military and the further abuse suffered by victims.

The Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize is co-sponsored by the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.


The Guardian US receives $10,000 and the Roy W. Howard Award for Public Service Reporting for “The NSA Files,” coverage led by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras, with assistance from James Ball and Spencer Ackerman. From being the first to report the National Security Agency was collecting millions of U.S. citizens’ phone records, to carefully vetting vast amounts of information and then, conducting the first exclusive video interview with Edward Snowden – the source of the top secret documents – judges said, “The Guardian US was the go-to media for one of 2013’s biggest news stories, prompting public discussion of NSA policies.”

Finalists: Judges for this category selected as a finalist the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Deadly Delays” that won the Scripps Howard Awards’ Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize for Investigative Reporting. Also, Megan Twohey of Reuters for “The Child Exchange,” which exposed Internet bulletin boards parents use to rid themselves of children they adopted overseas and no longer want.


The Better Government Association, a Chicago-based nonpartisan, nonprofit news-gathering organization receives $10,000 and the Edward Willis Scripps Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment for work that has fostered open communication for 90 years and, in 2013, produced more than 80 news investigations and follow-up reports.

Finalists: M. B. Pell and Johnny Edwards of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for overcoming government secrecy to reveal how insiders profit from the sale of tax debts; and Newsday, Melville, N.Y., for “Police Misconduct,” a revealing look at the use of privacy laws to hide offenses committed by law enforcement officers.


Andrea Elliott of The New York Times receives $10,000 and the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling for “Invisible Child,” a chronicle of a year in the life of one of the city’s 22,000 homeless children.

Finalists: John Woodrow Cox of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., for profiling the lives of everyday people; and Christopher Goffard of the Los Angeles Times for “Private Wars,” a trio of stories about the lingering casualties of the war in Iraq.


The Arizona Republic in Phoenix receives $10,000 and the Breaking News Award for “Yarnell Hill Fire,” simultaneous coverage of three breaking news stories about a fire that killed 19 firefighters, the destruction of 127 homes and a forced mass evacuation.

Finalists: The Denver Post for coverage of devastating floods that tormented the Front Range for more than two weeks; and the Los Angeles Times for “Christopher Dorner,” reporting that closely followed the murderous rampage of a former policeman.


NPR’s Planet Money receives $10,000 and the Digital Innovation Award for “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt,” a documentary and Kickstarter project that explored the hidden world behind clothing sold in the United States.

Finalists: The Guardian US for “NSA Files: Decoded,” an explanation of the political, legal and technological issues raised by the Guardian’s coverage of National Security Agency surveillance activities; and WBUR-FM, Boston, for “Bulger on Trial,” a guide to the trial of one of America’s most notorious mobsters.


KARE-TV, Minneapolis/St. Paul receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for Television/Cable In-Depth Local Coverage for “Unhitched & Out of Control.” Boyd Huppert and Jonathan Malat led the staff in a public service report that demonstrated the risks, responsibilities – and sometimes deadly consequences – of simply towing a trailer.

Finalists: John Ferrugia, Jason Foster and Arthur Kane of KMGH-TV in Denver for “Adams County: Exposing a Culture of Corruption,” a five-year investigation that uncovered more than $14 million in questionable county contracts and led to prison terms for those responsible. Also, Andy Pierrotti, Derek Rasor and Kathy Hadlock of KVUE-TV in Austin for “Children Left Behind,” an examination of a broken foreign adoption system that endangers children and discourages adoptive parents.


Associated Producers Ltd. and HBO Documentary Films receive $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for Television/Cable In-Depth National and International Coverage for their investigative documentary, “Tales from the Organ Trade.” Associated Producers’ Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev and Simcha Jacobovici and HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Nancy Abraham documented black-market organ trafficking with unprecedented access to the brokers, surgeons, recipients and organ sellers. The piece has fostered debate among leaders in international law enforcement, transplant organizations, universities, hospitals and think tanks.

Finalist: Scott Zamost and Drew Griffin from CNN and Will Evans and Christina Jewett from The Center for Investigative Reporting for “Rehab Racket.” Their yearlong investigation exposed fraud and questionable billing practices at private drug rehabilitation centers in Southern California.


This American Life receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for In-Depth Radio Coverage for “Harper High School.” The series by Julie Snyder, Ben Calhoun, Ira Glass, Alex Kotlowitz, Linda Lutton and Robyn Semien document daily life in a Chicago school that’s struggling to thrive in a neighborhood beset by gun violence. Their work garnered the attention of President and Mrs. Obama, who welcomed Harper students and staff at the White House shortly after the episodes aired.

Finalists: WBEZ-FM in Chicago and the Chicago Reader for “Heroin, LLC,” a joint investigation that followed the supply line responsible for an increase in overdose deaths in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Also, Jennifer Guerra of Ann Arbor-based Michigan Radio, which includes FM stations WUOM, WFUM and WVGR. Her entry, “The Education Gap,” explored the disparities between high-poverty and low-poverty schools.


The Portland (Maine) Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram receive $10,000 and the Community Journalism Award for “The Challenge of Our Age.” The series examined the public and private sectors’ inability to meet the needs of Maine’s aging population – the oldest median age found anywhere in the United States – and rallied public support for reform.

Finalists: Rhiannon Meyers of the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times for “Cost of Diabetes,” an in-depth look at the city’s alarming rates for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and a call to address the epidemic. Also, The Virgin Islands Daily News in St. Thomas for “EMS in Chaos” by Stephen Cheslik, J. Lowe Davis, Lou Mattei and Gerry Yandel. Their work resulted in disciplinary actions for emergency medical services supervisors and repairs and updates for the territory’s fleet of ambulances.


Craig Welch and Steve Ringman of The Seattle Times receive $10,000 and the Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting for “Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn.” Their five-part series introduced readers to the dangers of ocean acidification, the lesser-known twin of climate change.

Finalists: Julia Kumari Drapkin of KVNF-FM in Paonia, Colo., and Sue Schardt of the Association for Independents in Radio project Localore for “I See Change” crowdsourced multimedia conversations about seasonal weather and climate extremes. Also, The Center for Public Integrity’s staffers Ronnie Greene, Chris Hamby, David Heath and Jim Morris for “Toxic Clout, a yearlong investigation into conflicts-of-interest among the chemical industry, scientists and regulators.


The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a division of The Center for Public Integrity, receives $10,000 and the William Brewster Styles Award for Business/Economics Reporting for “Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze.” The series of 50 articles involved 112 journalists and 58 media partners worldwide.

Finalists: Michael Grabell of ProPublica for “Temp Land: Working in the New Economy,” an examination of a little-known trend in industrial America that uses temporary workers to fill dangerous and undesirable jobs. Also, Heather Perlberg and John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg News for “Wall Street Becomes America’s Landlord,” an investigation into investors who are cashing-in on the housing crisis by buying foreclosed homes and creating home rental empires.


Tony Messenger and Kevin Horrigan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch receive $10,000 and the Walker Stone Award for Editorial Writing for deeply researched editorials that exposed political hypocrisy. Judges said their work “embodied a spirit dedicated to public welfare.”

Finalists: Dante Ramos of The Boston Globe for “Open Up, Boston,” a series of editorials that showed local residents and elected officials how their cultural restrictions and antiquated laws impede progress; and Joni James of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., for editorials that explained complicated issues ranging from campaign finance to flood insurance and education policy.


Danny Westneat of The Seattle Times receives $10,000 and the Commentary Award for columns on the beating death of a day laborer and other stories from Seattle that showed how economic realities are undermining the American dream.

Finalists: James Gill of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, who challenged Louisiana’s culturally embedded response to crime, and Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times for his online column, “The Economy Hub,” that publishes as often as four or more times a day.


John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe receives $10,000 and the Photojournalism Award for his Boston Marathon portfolio, which included the photo that became the signature image of the worst bombing on U.S. soil since 9/11 to coverage of survivors as they reclaimed their lives.

Finalists: Jerome Delay of the Associated Press; and Erika Schultz of The Seattle Times.


Lori Bergen from the Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University, will receive $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Administrator of the Year Award.

Finalists: Jerry Ceppos, Manship School of Communication, Louisiana State University; and Al Tims, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota.


Cindy Royal of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Texas State University, will receive $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Teacher of the Year Award.

Finalists: Carolina Acosta-Alzura of Grady College, University of Georgia; and Janna Anderson of the School of Communications, Elon University.

A program book and videos featuring recipients of 2013 Scripps Howard Awards will be available online at after the May 22 presentations. The book and videos will also be offered along with the award-winning entries at Video featuring the winning educators will be added to the two sites after their Aug. 6 presentations.