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Scripps Howard Awards honor best of 2020 journalism with finalists in 14 categories

March 9, 2021 By Rebecca McCarter

CINCINNATI – The New York Times and The Washington Post are the front-runners in the 68th Scripps Howard Awards, each with three entries selected as finalists for one of the media industry’s most prestigious honors.

The Awards, presented by the Scripps Howard Foundation and The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), will award $160,000 in prize money for work across 14 categories and the coveted Impact Award.

“Following a year that challenged journalists to navigate a global pandemic, societal unrest and intense partisanship, it’s more important than ever to recognize journalists’ roles as the eyes and ears of our communities,” said Liz Carter, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “We see a common theme in the reporting recognized – tenacity to hold the powerful accountable, protect our democracy and inform fellow citizens.

“It’s an honor to recognize those who continued to work tirelessly in the background while the events of this last year unfolded.”

A panel of veteran journalists and media industry leaders convened virtually in February to judge entries for the competition, which honors the best journalism from the previous year. The panel of impartial judges selected the list of finalists from nearly 900 entries.

The judges also selected one entry from the list of 2020 winners 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 will be announced on April 21, 2021, along with the other winners during a virtual celebration, streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

“The Scripps Howard Foundation’s annual celebration of America’s best journalism reaffirms the importance of journalists and their public service responsibilities to our society,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “Today, we honor those who excelled in their roles as watchdogs and upheld the essential role of our nation’s Fourth Estate, even amid a year of adversity.”

The awards program is produced in partnership with Scripps’ local TV stations WXYZ in Detroit and WCPO in Cincinnati, and its national news network, Newsy. The show will be rebroadcast May 8 and May 9 on Newsy and on Scripps television stations throughout the summer. For more information, visit

A full list of finalists follows:

Excellence in Coverage of Breaking News
The Washington Post – “The Beirut Explosion”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) – “The Killing of George Floyd”
The Seattle Times – “Life Care of Kirkland: The Nation’s First COVID-19 Epicenter”

Excellence in Broadcast Local Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard
KARE-TV (Minneapolis) – “KARE 11 Investigates: Cruel and Unusual”
WFAA-TV (Dallas) – “Banking Below 30”
KING-TV (Seattle) – “Facing Race”

Excellence in Broadcast National/International Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard
VICE on Showtime – “India Burning”
MSNBC and NBC News – “On Assignment with Richard Engel: Coronavirus Special Series”
CBS News – “Norah O’Donnell Investigates: Military Sexual Assault” 

Excellence in Business/Financial Reporting
The New York Times – “The President’s Taxes”
City Bureau and WBEZ-FM (Chicago) – “Where Banks Don’t Lend”
ProPublica – “Pandemic Profiteers”

Excellence in Environmental Reporting
Newsday (Long Island, New York) – “The Grumman Plume: Decades of Deceit”
Oregon Public Broadcasting – “Timber Wars”
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) – “Rising Waters”

Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, honoring Edward Willis Scripps
KNXV-TV (Phoenix) – “Full Disclosure”
Minnesota Reformer – “The Bad Cops”
NPR – “Civil War at the Voice of America”

Excellence in Human Interest Storytelling, honoring Ernie Pyle
The New York Times – “She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One”
Stitcher – “Witness Docs – Unfinished: Deep South”
The Washington Post – Stephanie McCrummen

Excellence in Innovation, honoring Roy W. Howard
The Tennessean (Nashville) – “Inside the Storm”
The Washington Post – “Flatten the Curve”
Miami Herald – “A Numbers Game” and “Just Like You”

Excellence in Local/Regional Investigative Reporting
USA Today – “Torn Apart”
City Bureau and WBEZ-FM (Chicago) – “Where Banks Don’t Lend”
Tampa Bay Times – “Targeted”

Excellence in National/International Investigative Reporting, the Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize
BuzzFeed News, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 media partners – “FinCEN Files”
The Marshall Project,, The Indianapolis Star and Invisible Institute – “Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons”
FRONTLINE PBS – “COVID’s Hidden Toll” 

Excellence in Multimedia Journalism
KXAN-TV (Austin, Texas) – “Locked in Limbo”
The Associated Press – “COVID Atlas”
The New York Times – “Visual Investigations: Police Misconduct and Racial Injustice in 2020”

Excellence in Opinion Writing
The Boston Globe – Jeneé Osterheldt
Los Angeles Times – Gustavo Arellano
Union of Concerned Scientists and – “Tried to Warn You”

Excellence in Radio/Podcast Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard
Global Reporting Centre – “On China’s New Silk Road”
Kaiser Health News and St. Louis (Missouri) Public Radio – “Where it Hurts: No Mercy”
Invisible Institute, The Intercept and Topic Studios – “Somebody”

Excellence in Visual Journalism
The Oregonian (Portland) – “Photography from Portland’s George Floyd Protests”
Los Angeles Times – Marcus Yam Visual Journalism Portfolio
Newsday (Long Island, New York) – “A Season of Protests”

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. 

Teacher of the Year
Kathleen Culver – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lanier Holt – The Ohio State University

Administrator of the Year
Lucy Dalglish – University of Maryland
Alan Stavitsky – University of Nevada, Reno

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 journalism education, excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism and the Foundation’s annual “If You Give a Child a Book …” childhood literacy campaign has distributed more than 352,000 new books to children in need across the nation since 2017. In support of its mission to create a better-informed world, the Foundation also partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and support impactful organizations to drive solutions that help build thriving communities. 

About The E. W. Scripps Company
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff and Court TV Mystery. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. 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]