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2019 finalists for the Scripps Howard Award selected by panel

Feb. 25, 2020 By Rebecca McCarter

CINCINNATI – Collaboration among news organizations, a focus on climate change and dogged investigations that held the powerful accountable are pervasive themes among finalists of the 2019 Scripps Howard Awards.

The Washington Post was the front-runner, with seven finalists across six categories. ProPublica had two finalists and was part of several joint reporting projects through its Local Reporting Network.  Collaborations between the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, National Public Radio and the University of Maryland Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and at newsrooms across California led to recognized work across categories.

A panel of veteran journalists and media industry leaders convened Feb. 20-21 at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, to judge entries for the competition, which honors the best in journalism from the previous year. The impartial panel selected the list of finalists in 15 categories from among 897 entries.

Now in its 67th year, the Scripps Howard Awards competition is administered by the Scripps Howard Foundation, which presents $170,000 in prize money to the winning organizations and journalists.“The hundreds of entries submitted this year are proof that the passion for this work has not waned,” said Liz Carter, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Our 2019 finalists share a commitment to holding the powerful accountable – whether that’s large government agencies, local public officials or businesses. Further, their work showcases the power of stories deeply researched and authentically told. The Scripps Howard Awards are tangible evidence that truth, transparency and integrity can have lasting community impact.”

The 2019 finalists are:

Breaking News:
Los Angeles Times – “Death off the Santa Barbara Coast”
The Washington Post – “The El Paso – Dayton Shooting”
San Francisco Chronicle – “Wildfire and Blackouts in Northern California”

Broadcast – Local Coverage:
WFAA-TV (Dallas) – “Verify Road Trip: Climate Truth”
KARE-TV (Minneapolis) – “KARE 11 Investigates: Mission Critical”
KNXV-TV (Phoenix) – “Unlocked and Unsafe”

Broadcast – National/International Coverage:
Al Jazeera – “The War on Afghan Women”
VICE News Tonight – “They Come For Us At Night: China’s Vanishing Muslims”
FRONTLINE PBS – “Flint’s Deadly Water”

Business/Financial Reporting:
The Seattle Times – “Boeing’s 737 MAX Crisis”
ProPublica – “The TurboTax Trap”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – “Turned Away”

Community Journalism:
Missoulian (Missoula, Montana) – “Troubled Kids, Troubled System”
MLK50: Justice Through Journalism (Memphis, Tennessee) and ProPublica – “Profiting From The Poor”
Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News and ProPublica – “Lawless”

Environmental Reporting:
The Associated Press – “What Can Be Saved?”
The Oregonian/OregonLive (Portland) – “Polluted By Money”
The Seattle Times – “Hostile Waters: Orcas in Peril”

Distinguished Service to the First Amendment:  
Orlando (Florida) Sentinel – “Florida’s Fading Sunshine Laws”
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) – “‘IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO DIE’: How Flaws in the South Carolina Prison System Led to 7 Deaths in a Single Night”
Bay Area News Group and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with McClatchy, MediaNews Group, USA Today Network, Voice of San Diego and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting – “California’s Criminal Cops”

Human Interest Storytelling:
The Washington Post – “Lives of Everyday Americans”
The Washington Post – “The State of Health Care in Rural America”
The Wall Street Journal – “The Agony of DNA Testing”

WBEZ Chicago Public Media – “Chicago Mayoral Election Questionnaire”
Newsy – “Newsy+Bellingcat”
The Washington Post – “The Mueller Report”

Investigative Reporting:
ProPublica – “Disaster in the Pacific”
The Washington Post – “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War”
Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News – “Abuse of Faith”

Multimedia Journalism:
The Marshall Project with The Guardian – “Detained”
The Washington Post – “Gone in a Generation”
Vox – “These 3 Supertrees Can Protect Us From Climate Collapse”

Alabama Media Group – “Life, Politics and Corruption in Alabama”
Kaiser Health News – “America’s Broken Health Care System: Columns by Elisabeth Rosenthal”
The New York Times –  “America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made it One” by Nikole Hannah-Jones

American Public Media, APM Reports – “Uprooted”
Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting – “Amazon: Behind the Smiles”
The Public’s Radio (Rhode Island) – “A 911 Emergency”

Topic of the Year: The Impact of Climate Change on Communities  
The Center for Public Integrity, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, High Country News, Ohio Valley ReSource and StateImpact Oklahoma – “One Disaster Away”
NPR and The University of Maryland Howard Center for Investigative Journalism – “Heat and Health in American Cities”
The Boston Globe – “At the Edge of a Warming World”

Visual Journalism:
The Associated Press – “Photography portfolio for Rodrigo Abd”
The Washington Post – “2019 Portfolio: Jahi Chikwendiu – From My Own Backyard”
The Texas (Austin) Tribune – “Under the Dome”

The Scripps Howard Foundation, in partnership with the Association for Education in Journalism and
Mass Communication (AEJMC), also announced finalists for its two journalism education awards. These awards recognize excellence in teaching and administration within journalism and communication programs. Both awards will be presented at the 2020 AEJMC Conference in San Francisco this August.

Teacher of the Year:
Jennifer Thomas – Howard University
William H. Freivogel – Southern Illinois University

Administrator of the Year:
David Boardman – Temple University
Susan King – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Winners of the Scripps Howard Awards will be announced March 3 at 2 p.m. (EST) during a live stream on YouTubeand Facebook. The awards will be presented April 16 at an evening event in Cincinnati and also streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. The awards program will be rebroadcast April 26 on Newsy and on Scripps television stations throughout the summer.

One winner from the above categories will be announced during the awards event as the recipient of the Impact Award, which recognizes journalism that serves the public through coverage of an issue leading to changes in the public, private or business sector. This award honors what the judges deem to be the piece of journalism that had the greatest impact in 2019.

The foundation’s corporate parent, The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), is the presenting sponsor of the awards. The Scripps Howard Awards show is produced in partnership with Newsy and WCPO-TV.

“Even in this polarized and divisive political climate, the journalism industry continues to dedicate itself to upholding its sacred responsibility in our democracy,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “The E.W. Scripps Company is proud to support the Scripps Howard Foundation in honoring some of the year’s most important and impactful journalism.”


About The Scripps Howard Foundation
The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on excellence in journalism. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism. The Foundation improves lives and helps build thriving communities. It partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and supports impactful organizations to drive solutions.

About Scripps
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) advances understanding of the world through journalism. As the nation’s fourth-largest independent TV station owner, Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets. Scripps empowers the next generation of news consumers with its multiplatform news network Newsy and reaches growing audiences through broadcast networks including Bounce and Court TV. Shaping the future of storytelling through digital audio, Scripps owns top podcast company Stitcher and Triton, the global leader in technology and measurement services. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto “Give light and the people will find their own way.”


Media contact:

Kari Wethington, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3763, [email protected]