2010 WHCA JOURNALISM AWARDS
Five reporters have been named winners of three of journalism’s most prestigious awards, and were honored at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on May 1.
The Merriman Smith Award ($2,500 each) recognizes presidential news coverage under deadline pressure, with separate awards for print and broadcast journalists.
Ben Feller of the Associated Press and Jake Tapper of ABC News received the Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage under deadline pressure in the print and broadcast categories, respectively. Feller was cited by the Smith award judges for his coverage of President Obama’s surprise, late-night visit to Dover Air Force Base. They said Feller had “little advance notice of President Barack Obama’s trip to Dover Air Force Base on Oct. 28. 2009, but filed a series of middle-of-the-night compelling updates capped by a final story whose style had echoes of Edward R. Murrow in its taut, gripping writing. His story put readers at the scene while giving them context and background.”
Tapper won for his story that revealed former Senator Tom Daschle’s tax problems that derailed his nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. The judges said Tapper’s reporting was a “perfect lesson on getting news no one else has on a beat in which it is hard to do so, getting it out fast and accurately with background and context and using the Web to augment the on-air reporting.”
SMITH AWARD JUDGES
Ellen Shearer, Medill School of Journalism, Washington, DC
Lee Thornton, PhD, Phillip Merrill School of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Wes Pippert, Director, Missouri Journalism’s Washington Program, Washington, DC
The Aldo Beckman ($1,000) recognizes repeated excellence in White House coverage, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries may be in the form of clippings, original material, wire copy printouts, photocopies or broadcast scripts.
Mark Knoller of CBS News received the Aldo Beckman award for sustained excellence in White House coverage. Knoller was cited for his body of work covering the White House for more than 35 years. The judges hailed his “insightful reporting on multiple platforms” including radio, television, blogs and now Twitter. “His meticulous record-keeping as an unofficial archivist of the presidency serves the public and keeps the White House accountable,” the judges said. “Mark Knoller lives and breathes reporting. The public is well-served by his tireless efforts.
The Beckman award carries a $1,000 prize.
Honorable Mention for the Aldo Beckman Award goes to Scott Wilson of the Washington Post whose excellent reporting and writing style display an ability to take complex policy issues and weave them into a narrative that chronicles the political strategies and the interactions of the personalities involved in his stories. Scott’s insightful work is all the more remarkable given that he is new to the White House beat. His previous experience as a foreign correspondent has clearly enriched his coverage of the Obama presidency.
BECKMAN AWARD JUDGES
Mary Coffman, Associate Professor, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Washington Program
Jackie Judd, Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington, DC
Rich Foster, Newseum/Freedom Forum, Washington, DC
The Edgar A. Poe Award ($2,500) recognizes excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries that are multi-part must be limited to 5 print, broadcast, or online stories in the series as one entry. Online entries must be original Web content. Entire series may be submitted as supporting documentation, but only the five stories selected for entry will be fully reviewed for judging.
Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman of the Contra Costa, California, Times have been awarded the Edgar A. Poe Award for excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance.
The awards presentions were held during the annual fundraising dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Bohan and Kleffman won the Poe Award for their four-part entitled, “Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters.”
“In the midst of the national health care debate, these exceptionally well-reported stories offer unique and valuable lessons for public health policy,” said the Poe award judges said.
“Through extensive use of county health records, Bohan and Kleffman stand conventional wisdom on its head, providing powerful evidence that variations in disease rates and life expectancies between neighborhoods in Alameda County, Calif., are not–as widely assumed–the result of poor people making bad choices about diet and exercise. Rather the discrepancies stem from multiple forces that deny those living in poor communities access to the basic resources necessary to engage in a healthy lifestyle, however great their desire to do so. These powerful and poignant stories provide an important new lens that snaps the health care debate into sharp focus. While looking closely at these issues at the county level, the stories in this series have profound national and regional implications, providing strong evidence that blaming the victims is not a substitute for dealing seriously with the underlying causes of the health care crisis.”
The Poe award carries a $2,500 prize.
Honorable mention is also awarded to two different publications for their work on the housing crisis and the resulting foreclosure meltdown that still reaches to every part of American life and continues to threaten recovery efforts.
Michael M. Phillips
The Wall Street Journal
Brian Grow, Keith Epstein, Robert Berner, Chad Terhune, and Ben Elgin
Bloomberg Business Week
POE AWARD JUDGES
Matt Mansfield, Medill School of Journalism, Washington, DC
David Armstrong, Ass’t Professor of Journalism, Washington Semester Program, American University, Washington, DC
Phil Dixon, Journalism Department Head, Howard University, Washington, DC
Awards were presented at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Ed Henry of CNN chairs the 2010 awards committee and assisted with the presentations at this year’s ceremony.
For more information about each award, click on the individual guidelines links at right. For further questions, please contact Ellen Shearer of Medill News Service at (202) 661-0102 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Julia Whiston, Executive Director of the WHCA, at (202) 266-7453 (click to send a message).
Ed Henry of CNN chairs the 2010 awards committee.