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Scripps Howard Awards Honor Nation’s Best 2011 Journalism

March 16, 2012

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 2011.

Established in 1953, the Scripps Howard Foundation 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 be honored April 26 at a dinner hosted by the Scripps Howard Foundation and its corporate founder, The E.W. Scripps Company, at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. The winners will receive a total of $175,000 and distinctive trophies in the 17 categories.

This year’s winners and finalists are representative of the way the communications industry is evolving. 

“From media partnerships to individual blogs, these journalists work across multiple platforms from around the block and the world,” said Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “We are proud to honor them in the hometown of one of our company’s fine media outlets, WXYZ-TV, Channel 7.”

Selected by industry experts, winners of the 2011 Scripps Howard Awards are:


Danny Hakim and Russell Buettner receive the $15,000 Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize, given in cooperation with Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication and the Farfel Endowment, for their New York Times series “Abused and Used.” Their year-long investigation of more than 2,000 state-run homes for the developmentally disabled has led to much-needed reforms and added oversight.

Finalists: Anthony Cormier and Matthew Doig, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, for “Unfit for Duty;” and Jeff Donn, The Associated Press, for “Aging Nukes”


The Arizona Republic in Phoenix receives $10,000 and a trophy for “Tucson Tragedy,” Jan. 8 coverage of the shooting that killed six and wounded 13 people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Finalists: WRTV, Indianapolis, for “Indiana State Fair Disaster;” and The New York Times for “Japan Quake”


California Watch and The Center for Investigative Reporting receive $10,000 and the Roy W. Howard Award for “On Shaky Ground,” a 19-month investigation exposing flaws in seismic safety compliance and oversight at public schools. The series appeared in more than 150 news outlets across the state, prompting measures that will better prepare school children for the next big earthquake.

Finalists: Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber and Dan Nguyen, ProPublica, for “Dollars for Docs;” and The Wall Street Journal for “The End of Privacy”


Jamie Lucke of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader receives $10,000 and the Walker Stone Award for editorials that took on Kentucky’s powerful coal industry while speaking for the voiceless and powerless in Appalachia.

Finalists: John McCormick, Chicago Tribune; and Bonnie Calhoun Williams, the Independent Mail, Anderson, S.C.


Brian McGrory of The Boston Globe receives $10,000 and a trophy for helping a priest clear his name, cutting to the core of Mitt Romney, and an array of other thought-provoking columns about big events and small moments.

Finalists: Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times; and Brian J. O’Connor, The Detroit News


Corinne Reilly of The Virginian-Pilot receives $10,000 and the Ernie Pyle Award for “A Chance in Hell,” a series about a combat hospital in Kandahar, where Navy personnel from the newspaper’s Norfolk, Va., coverage area are serving.

Finalists: Dan Barry, The New York Times, for “This Land;” and John Branch, The New York Times, for “Punched Out”


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette receives $10,000 and the Edward J. Meeman Award for “Pipeline,” a news website led by Erich Schwartzel and Elisabeth Ponsot that is  dedicated to explaining the economic, environmental and political effects of the natural gas industry’s Marcellus Shale drilling.

Finalists: iWatch News from The Center for Public Integrity in partnership with NPR and the Investigative News Network for “Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities;” and Mark Greenblatt, David Raziq and Keith Tomshe of KHOU-TV, Houston, for “A Matter of Risk: Radiation, Drinking Water and Deception”


Damian Paletta of The Wall Street Journal receives $10,000 and the Raymond Clapper Award for “Disabled System,” a five-part series that exposed pervasive mismanagement in the Social Security Disability Insurance system. Paletta’s reporting prompted resignations, criminal and regulatory investigations, immediate corrective action and long-term efforts to overhaul the system.

Finalists: David Cloud and W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times, for “Drone Wars;” and Eric Lipton, The New York Times, for “The Champions”


Jack Ohman of The (Portland) Oregonian receives $10,000 and a trophy for multi-panel cartoons that addressed national issues from a local perspective.

Finalists: Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle; and Stephanie McMillan, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale


Lara Solt of The Dallas Morning News receives $10,000 and a trophy for a portfolio that included the features “Hell and Hope: Haiti’s Orphans,” and “An Unending Battle: A Military Family’s Struggle with Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Finalists: Damon Winter, The New York Times; and Alejandra Villa, Newsday


Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce of ProPublica receive $10,000 and the William Brewster Styles Award for exposing the crushing failure of industry and government responses to the foreclosure crisis.

Finalists: Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers, for “Financial Speculation in Commodity Markets;” and Donald Barlett, James Steele, Kat Aaron and Lynne Perri, Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, for “What Went Wrong: The Betrayal of the American Dream”


Sara Ganim and the staff of The Patriot-News, Mechanicsburg, Pa., receive $10,000 and a trophy for “Jerry Sandusky and Penn State,” a two-year investigation that led to nationwide coverage of the child sex abuse scandal and its impact on the university.

Finalists: Brandon Stahl and Mark Stodghill, Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, for “The Case of Dr. Konasiewicz;” and the Valley News, West Lebanon, N.H., for “Tropical Storm Irene: The Aftermath”


Dan Grech and Kenny Malone of WLRN-Miami Herald News receive $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for “Neglected to Death,” a series that uncovered rampant abuse and neglect within Florida’s assisted living industry and helped prompt an unprecedented crackdown by the state, a special task force by the governor and a grand jury by Miami-Dade’s state attorney.

Finalists: Joe Richman and Samara Freemark of Radio Diaries on NPR for “The Last Man on the Mountain;” and Bruce Auster, Tom Bowman, David Gilkey and Amy Walters of NPR for “’Darkhorse’ Battalion and the Afghan War”


Al Jazeera English receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark” a documentary by May Ying Welsh, with support from Jon Blair, Tuki Laumea and Hassan Mahfood, that covered demonstrators’ pro-democracy protests during the height of the Arab revolutions and the regime’s brutal response.

Finalists: David Biscobing and Gerard Watson, KNXV-TV, Phoenix, for “Phoenix Kidnappings: Uncovering the Truth;” and Phil Williams, Kevin Wisniewski, Iain Montgomery and Bryan Staples, WTVF-TV, Nashville, Tenn., for “Policing for Profit”


Jonathan Austin and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News, Burnsville, N.C., receive $10,000 and the Edward Willis Scripps Award for “Unlawful Law Enforcement,” which exposed absentee ballot fraud, ethics violations, abuse of arrest powers, and the theft and illegal sale of county-owned firearms – all during the newspaper’s first year of operation and despite risks both financial and physical.

Finalists: Bloomberg News for “The Fed’s Trillion-Dollar Secret;” and OpenSecrets Blog for “Holding Their Feet to the Fire”

“The Scripps Howard Foundation is also proud to honor 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 awards will be presented Aug. 9 in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication at the keynote session of the annual AEJMC convention in Chicago:


John Lavine, dean of Medill at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., receives $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Award.


Douglas B. Ward, Budig Professor of Writing and associate professor of journalism at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas, Lawrence, receives $10,000 and the Charles E. Scripps Award.

Finalists: Jay Newell, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University, Ames; and Cindy Royal, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Texas State University, San Marcos

An awards program book and video featuring the winners and their work will be available online at after the April 26 presentations. The 2011 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.