National Press Club

Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times win awards in National Press Club journalism contest

June 26, 2015 | By Will Lester | wjlester@aol.com

The Wall Street Journal won first-place awards for consumer journalism and humor writing in the 2015 National Press Club Journalism Contest and The Seattle Times won a breaking news award for its comprehensive coverage of a deadly mudslide.

Allan Sloan of Fortune Magazine won the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for his groundbreaking investigation of a financial ploy known as inversion that is costing the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars. This year’s winner of the Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award was a project done by three organizations: InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund and called: “Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem.”

The first-ever winner of the National Press Club News Photo Award was Gabe Souza of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram for a photo of the hand of a woman holding her newly acquired citizenship papers. The judges said the photo “tells a compelling story with a single shot” that shows the texture of her hand as well as the soft focus of her face on her naturalization certificate.

The broadcast winner of the Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism was the PBS documentary: “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at The New York Times" by Gush Productions. And the winner for consumer journalism for broadcast was KPIX of San Francisco for “Un-covered California,” a look at numerous flaws with California's health insurance exchange that prompted changes by insurers and forced action by state regulators.

The winners will be honored at an awards dinner at the National Press Club on Wednesday, July 29.

NPC Journalism Contest Winners
Breaking News-print: The Seattle Times for its coverage of a deadly mudslide that terrorized a hillside community in March 2014.

Consumer Journalism-newspapers: The Wall Street Journal for a project called "Deadly Medicine," by a team of reporters led by Jennifer Levitz and Jon Kamp. It looked at cancer-related risks associated with a medical device used in minimally invasive hysterectomies.

Consumer Journalism-periodicals: Reuters, for a thorough look at how climate change is already having a tangible effect on coastal communities around the world.

Consumer Journalism-broadcast: KPIX of San Francisco for UN-covered California, a yearlong series that found numerous flaws with California's health insurance exchange and prompted changes by insurers and action by state regulators.

Edwin M. Hood Diplomatic Award: Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon for their piece published in The New Republic: “How Close They Came” _ a narrative on the latest attempt by the United States to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Washington Regional Reporting: Donovan Slack of the USA Today/Gannett Washington bureau for her coverage of stories for Gannett’s newspapers in Wisconsin.

Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism-print: David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun for his strong series of columns on the shifting media environment and the power of videos from alternative organizations or citizens that are reshaping our culture and prompting a rethinking of some long-held journalism norms.

Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism-broadcast: The PBS documentary: “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at The New York Times" by Gush Productions.

Newsletter Journalism: Cancer Letter for very thorough coverage over multiple stories. One of the stories helped shine light on a very controversial procedure that has since been highly restricted.

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award-print: John Russell of The Indianapolis Star for “Pet Medicines: How Safe are They?” _ an examination of the little-known and lucrative world of specialty drugs for animals.

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award-broadcast: CNN investigative correspondent Chris Frates for a series of reports on the abuse and neglect of animals in the nation’s food chain. The series included often-shocking reports about how animals are treated in agricultural facilities.

Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award: A project done by three organizations: InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund called: “Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem.”

Sandy Hume Award for Excellence in Political Journalism: Shane Goldmacher of National Journal for his exhaustive stories on lobbyist-sponsored travel for lawmakers.

Angele Gingras Humor Award: Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal for stories that took off from their base in sports to shed hilarious yet illuminating truths on different aspects of American culture. One skewering of corporate branding was called: "The NCAA Took Away My Cat Mug.”

Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatics: Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, free-lance reporter at the Center for Public Integrity for his series, "Understaffed and Underserved: A Look Inside America’s Nursing Homes."

Michael A. Dornheim Award: USA Today reporter Thomas Frank for “Unfit for Flight,” a five-part series that revealed the hidden dangers of private aviation.

Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis: Allan Sloan of Fortune Magazine for his investigation of a financial ploy known as inversion that is costing the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars

News Photo Award: Gabe Souza of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram for a photo of the hand of a woman holding her newly acquired citizenship papers.
NPC Journalism Contest Honorable Mention Winners

Breaking News-print: The Washington Post for its coverage of the shooting spree at a mall in Columbia, Md.

Consumer Journalism-newspapers: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review series called "The Invisible Threat," by Mike Wereschagin. The package probed the issue of the country's infrastructure, including problems with natural gas distribution lines that had killed more than 120 people, injured more than 500 and caused hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage over 10 years.

Consumer Journalism-broadcast: The Unseen Toll of Wage Garnishment” by National Public Radio and ProPublica. The jointly produced series showed in great detail the magnitude of wage garnishment.

Edwin M. Hood Diplomatic Award: Associated Press reporters David Rising, Randy Herschaft and Richard Lardner for their series “Nazi Social Security,” which disclosed that the U.S. Justice Department had used a loophole in Social Security laws to encourage Nazi war criminals, who were found living in the United States, to leave the country.

Newsletter Journalism: Mine Safety. The publication was involved in an innovative collaborative effort with NPR that looked in depth at mine safety and featured excellent investigative work, informative graphics and good use of photography.

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award-print: Fabien Tepper of The Christian Science Monitor for “The New Ethics of Eating: Rising awareness of animal welfare is slowly transforming industrial farming and its cold focus on efficiency.”

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award-broadcast: "Faux Fur" _ a several months long investigation by NBC News revealed that some of the country’s biggest retailers were passing off garments labeled and advertised as containing “faux fur” but were actually made from the fur of real animals, including rabbits and coyotes.

Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award: The Wall Street Journal for “Medicare Unmasked” _ a look at doctors who were getting rich off of the taxpayer-funded Medicare program, including an interactive database so readers could see how they did it.

Sandy Hume Award for Excellence in Political Journalism: Center for Public Integrity reporter Michael Beckel for his thorough and revealing work on political fundraising.

Angele Gingras Humor Award: Scott Vogel's highly entertaining pieces in Houstonia Magazine that tackle such diverse themes as the first-ever donation of a frozen margarita machine to the Smithsonian and a vivid ode to `70s family car trips, "Eating on the Road."

Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatics: Gillian Graham of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday-Telegram for a strongly reported and well-written narrative about an epidemic of hunger among the state's population of the elderly.

Michael A. Dornheim Award: Craig Whitlock of The Washington Post for “Hazard Above,” a four-part series on unmanned aircraft, or drones, that looked at the risks of operating a new breed of small privately owned drones in civil airspace.

Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his in-depth, computer-assisted analysis of every Milwaukee precinct and how the GOP/Democratic divide plays out.