National Press Club

Club Honors Journalism Excellence in Annual Contest

July 16, 2009

Small journalism outlets captured prestigious honors alongside some of the biggest names in the industry in the 2009 National Press Club Awards.

Reporters Todd Bensman and Guillermo Contreras of the San Antonio Express-News won the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence for a three-part series tracing the trail of high-powered guns smuggled from the United States into Mexico and the mounting body count in Mexico’s drug cartel war.

Meanwhile, Juliet Macur of The New York Times won the Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award, print and online category, for following up on the fate of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s traumatically abused dogs.

The Wall Street Journal, Congressional Quarterly, ABC News “20/20,” and also were among the winners; as were the Berkshire Eagle, the Miami Herald and WTVF News Channel 5 in Nashville, Tenn.

Matt Canham, Washington correspondent for the Salt Lake Tribune, won two
awards: the Washington Regional Reporting Award given to the D.C.-based
reporter who best provides a clear understanding of issues events and
politics of importance to a geographic region; and the Joseph D. Ryle Award
for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics, for an in-depth
look a nursing home conditions in Utah.

"When times are tough in the news business, it is especially important to celebrate excellence in journalism," said NPC President Donna Leinwand. "These reporters represent the best of our craft. Their articles have exposed critical problems for consumers, kept our government and politicians honest and solved community problems. We are thrilled to honor them."

Judges evaluated 139 entries in 18 categories.

The awards will be formally presented at a dinner Monday, Aug. 3.

Veteran journalist Gerald F. Seib won the Lee Walczak Award for his Capital Journal column in the Wall Street Journal chronicling the historic 2008 presidential election.

On the other end of the age spectrum, Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly won the Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism, an award given to an outstanding reporter under 35, for exposing the hypocrisy of a secretive Congress

ABC 20/20 correspondent Elizabeth Vargas and her crew won the broadcast category of the Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award for their in-depth look at mankind’s impact on elephants, both in captivity and in the wild. captured the Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award recognizing web-based journalism for “The Elkhart Project,” a dramatic multi-media presentation about how one community hard-hit by the recession is struggling to survive and preserve its community spirit

Bill Shein of the Berkshire Eagle won the Angele Gingras Humor award for his imaginative and topical columns including a look at the absurdities of laptop gnomes and full-size golden parachutes.

The Miami Herald’s Jack Dolan, Rob Barry and Matthew Haggman won the Consumer Journalism Award newspaper category for a series of gripping articles examining Florida’s crooked mortgage industry.

Nashville’s WTVF News Channel 5 won the NPC’s Consumer Journalism Award broadcast category for “An Alarming Failure,” a ground-breaking examination of the differences between the popular ionization-type smoke detector and the photoelectric model in a smoky fire. The stories resulted in legislation being introduced in Tennessee banning the installation of ionization smoke detectors in new homes.

Here is a complete list of the 2009 National Press Club Award winners:

Consumer Journalism Award—Newspapers

"Borrower's Betrayal"—The Miami Herald; Jack Dolan, Rob Barry and Matthew Haggman.

Honorable mention, "Culture of Resistance"— The

Seattle Times; Michael Berens and Ken Armstrong.

Consumer Journalism Award—Periodicals

"AARP's Stealth Fees Often Sting Seniors With Costlier Insurance"— Bloomberg Markets Magazine; Gary Cohn and Darrell Preston.

Consumer Journalism Award—Broadcast

"An Alarming Failure" — WTVF Newschannel 5, Nashville, Tenn.; Jennifer Kraus, Bryan Staples, Kevin Wisniewski and Mike Rose.

Washington Regional Reporting Award

Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune

Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism--Newspapers, magazines, newsletters and online

Sherry Ricchiardi, American Journalism Review

Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence

"Texas' Deadliest Export"— San Antonio Express-News; Todd Bensman and Guillermo Contreras.

Newsletter Journalism Award

Stephen Lee; Funeral Service Insider

Honorable mention: Gary Evans; Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award

“The Elkhart Project”—; Mike Brunker, Kari Huus, Mike Stuckey, Allison Linn, JoNel Aleccia, John Brecher, Robert Hood, Carissa Ray, Marilyn Odendahl, Tim Vandenack and Josh Weinhold.

Honorable mention, “Mind of the South”—Newsweek; Christopher Dickey.

Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism

“A Dome Under Lock and Key”— Congressional Quarterly; Tim Starks.

Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics

"Utah's Nursing Homes: Compromised Care"— Salt Lake Tribune; Matt Canham.

Angele Gingras Humor Award

Bill Shein; Berkshire Eagle

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award--Print/Online

“Given Reprieve, NFL Star’s Dogs Find Kindness”—The New York Times; Juliet Macur.

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award--Broadcast

“Elephant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”— ABC News 20/20; Elizabeth Vargas, Howie Mastors and Kimberly Launier.

Michael A. Dornheim Award

“The Hunt for the Kill Switch”— IEEE Spectrum magazine;

Sally Adee.

Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis

“Capital Journal”—Wall Street Journal; Gerald F. Seib