National Press Club

Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Mother Jones top award winners in National Press Club journalism contest

June 25, 2014 | By Will Lester | wjlester@aol.com

The Wall Street Journal won three awards, while USA Today and Mother Jones won a couple each in the 2014 National Press Club Journalism contest.

Molly Ball of The Atlantic won the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for her coverage of the divided Republican Party after the 2012 election. The Wall Street Journal won the Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award for its detailed look at lobotomies. The Washington Post won the Breaking News-Print award for its coverage of the Navy Yard mass shootings.

Among broadcast entries, KNTV of San Francisco won the Consumer Journalism-Broadcast award for stories about Sysco Corp. leaving perishable food destined for restaurants, hotels, hospitals and schools in outdoor, unrefrigerated storage units. GlobalPost’s Patrick Winn and Jonah Kessel won the Edwin Hood Diplomatic Award for broadcasters for their documentary on Myanmar.

The award winners will be honored at a dinner at the National Press Club on Wednesday, July 30.

NPC journalism contest winners

Breaking News–Print: The Washington Post for coverage of the September 2013 shooting at the Navy Yards in Washington that killed 12 and wounded several others.

Consumer Journalism-Newspapers: USA Today’s Alison Young for “Supplement Shell Game,” a thorough look at a food-and-drug issue that resulted in congressional action and two dietary supplements being pulled from the market.

Consumer Journalism-Periodicals: “Breathless and Burdened” by The Center for Public Integrity/ABC News: The thorough report looked at the plight of miners who faced court rules that seemed to be written in favor of coal companies. The coverage resulted in immediate suspension of Johns Hopkins black lung program that had repeatedly found in favor of coal companies.

Consumer Journalism-Broadcast: The San Francisco station KNTV -- using hidden cameras -- tracked trucks of Sysco Corp. leaving perishable food in outdoor, unrefrigerated storage units, sometimes for hours.

Edwin Hood Diplomatic Award

Print: Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous for “Great Power Failure: How U.S. Missteps in Syria changed the Middle East.”

Broadcast: GlobalPost’s Patrick Winn (reporter) and Jonah Kessel (videographer) for “Myanmar Emerges: Promise & Peril.”

Washington Regional Reporting: Katherine Skiba of the Chicago Tribune for a diverse body of work, including a look at the extent of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s corruption and a fresh look at congressional foreign travel.

Rowse Press Criticism: Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post looked carefully at media issues involving foreign affairs from Afghanistan to Iraq to Benghazi in Libya.

Newsletter Journalism: Jen Judson with Inside the Army for her article that broke the news on the Army’s plan to eliminate its Kiowas helicopter and instead use Apache helicopters that would be taken from the National Guard -- valuable news for the newsletter’s target audience.

Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award: Ted Genoways of Mother Jones takes a close look at the history and impact of what are called “ag-gag” laws, which are on the books in eight states and have been introduced in many more. These laws make it a crime to shoot undercover video or photographs of conditions in animal agriculture facilities.

Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award: “The Lobotomy Files” by The Wall Street Journal was a strong piece of investigative journalism that used primary documents, photos and other visuals to bring the story to life. Case studies helped tell the story through the eyes of those who experienced the lobotomies.
Angele Gingras Humor Award: Tim Murphy of Mother Jones for clever and brightly written stories including a laugh-out-loud piece -- “A Day in the Life of a Snowden-Chasing Journalist at Sheremetyevo International Airport" -- and a lengthy story on how the Pentagon would wage war on Santa Claus and the North Pole that laid out the military troops, weapons and tactics that could be used to take on Santa, his loyal elves and his sidekick Krampus, "a massive goat-demon."

Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism: Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal, for a series of stories on the New Jersey bridge scandal. Mann’s dogged work on the traffic jams stemming from the shutdown of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge was cited as “a great example of classic enterprise journalism.”

Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatics: “Nursing Homes’ Broken Trusts,” an investigation by USA Today's Peter Eisler, revealed the level of theft and mismanagement of nursing home residents’ trust funds managed by administrative staff in nursing homes across America.

Michael A. Dornheim Award: Sara Sorcher of National Journal for stories that explored defense procurement, civil applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, federal budgeting and congressional oversight.

Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis: Molly Ball of The Atlantic for her coverage of the Republican Party’s internal struggles after the 2012 elections. The judges said her work was in the best tradition of Lee Walczak, who spearheaded political coverage at Bloomberg and at Business Week magazine for over 20 years.

President's Award, Press Freedom Award winners

Special recognition will go to Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and reporter Kathy Gannon, who are being honored with the National Press Club's President's Award. The President’s Award is presented only on special occasions by the Club president with the approval of the Club's Board of Governors.

Niedringhaus, from Germany, was a winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography as part of an AP team that covered the war in Iraq. Gannon, from Canada, has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly three decades.

Niedringhaus was killed in Afghanistan, and Gannon was wounded in the same attack April 4 when an Afghan police commander opened fire on them as they sat in a car that was part of a convoy traveling to eastern Afghanistan's city of Khost under protection of security forces to cover the elections. The two had worked together repeatedly in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, often focusing on the war's impact on Afghan civilians.

An exhibition of Niedringhaus’ photos will be on display in the Club lobby at the end of July to coincide with the awards dinner, being held July 30.

Also being honored at the dinner are an Illinois reporter, Joseph Hosey, of Patch.com, fighting prosecutorial pressure to disclose the identity of a confidential source and a Bahraini freelance photographer, Ahmed Humaidan, sentenced to a decade in jail effectively because he did his job. They are the winners of the National Press Club's 2014 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.

Each year, the Club honors two recipients of the award, one foreign and one domestic, who have demonstrated through their work the principles of press freedom and open government. The award is named after the late John Aubuchon, a former NPC president who championed press freedom.

NPC journalism contest honorable mention winners

Breaking News-print: The Associated Press’ coverage of the tornado in Oklahoma that killed 24 people, among them seven children killed inside a school that didn't have a shelter

Consumer Journalism-newspapers: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System,” by Adam Smeltz, Luis Fabregas, Mike Wereschagin and Lou Kilzer, that looked into the cause of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that left five dead and 16 sick.

Consumer Journalism-periodicals: Megan Twohey of Reuters. Reuters uncovered a vast network of informal child trading that endangered mostly foreign children brought to the United States without safeguards.

Regional Reporting: Jerry Zremski of the Buffalo News for reporting that included a scoop about local veterans' health being put at risk and safety hazards at an airline that had a fatal crash.

Newsletter Journalism: Brian Hansen with Platts Megawatt Daily for his article on the how the federal government is increasingly using electric utilities’ own computer-modeling data against them in air pollution cases.

Free Animal Reporting: “Bloody Skies: The Fight to Reduce Deadly Bird-Plane Collisions,” Eric Uhlfelder, National Geographic.com.

Friedenberg Online Reporting: The Arizona Republic for its coverage of the use of deadly force at the border.

Sandy Hume Award: Scot Paltrow and Kelly Carr of Reuters for a well-researched and documented story on Pentagon spending.

Ryle Geriatric Award: Bryan Gruley of Bloomberg News for his intensive reporting on whether people with dementia have the mental ability to have consensual sex.

Dornheim Award: W.J. Hennigan of the Los Angeles Times for reporting that spanned the perilous state of the Forest Service’s aging firefighting airplanes, the past and future of U.S. Air Force bombers and an “aviation archeologist.”

Lee Walczak Award: Neil King Jr. of The Wall Street Journal, led an effort to examine how the Republican Party is operating at the state and local level to redefine itself and appeal to new voters after the 2012 election.