The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism today announced the winners of the 2010 Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma.
ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine won for “Deadly Choices at Memorial,” written by Sheri Fink. The same story won a Pulitzer prize earlier this week in the investigative reporting category. “Deadly Choices at Memorial” deals with a hospital’s prioritization of care for patients as the staff copes with extremely scarce resources in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The St. Petersburg Times won for “For Their Own Good,” written by Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore. The story focuses on child abuse at a state-sponsored school for boys and was a Pulitzer finalist.
The Dart Awards honor stories that expose trauma and its impact on victims. They were established in 1995.
Press release after the jump.
New York, April 15, 2010 — The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, today announced the winners of the 2010 Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma.
This year’s Dart Award winners are ProPublica in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine, and the St. Petersburg Times. Honorable mentions include the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Detroit Free Press and the independent television documentary, “Baker Boys: Inside the Surge.”
ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine received the Dart Award for “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” (Sheri Fink, reporter; Paolo Pellegrin, photographer; Stephen Engelberg, managing editor; Susan White, senior editor; Ilena Silverman, story editor; Aaron Retica, chief of research; David Ferguson, researcher; Charles Wilson, researcher; and Krista Kjellman Schmidt, web producer and deputy editor of news applications). Published on the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this exceptional 13,000-word chronicle reveals what happened when the floodwaters rose, the generators failed, and the main hospital in New Orleans was cut off from the world. Fink’s reporting depicts the deepening confusion that gripped doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel as they waited for help to arrive. In doing so, she traces the moral and ethical ambiguities of the days that followed, and reconstructs the decisions the doctors made.
Judges described “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” as a “stunningly haunting and affective piece, both comprehensive and remarkably restrained.” Calling the reporting challenges “mindboggling,” judges praised Fink, a medical doctor and journalist, for her depth of knowledge, persistence and commitment to tell the story from all sides and on every level.
The St. Petersburg Times received the Dart Award for “For Their Own Good” (Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore, reporters; Edmund D. Fountain, photographer; Kelly Benham, enterprise editor). This investigative series takes an individual and systemic look at trauma and its lifelong consequences for survivors, families and communities. It tells the stories of men who were brutally abused as children while under the care of the Florida School for Boys and the ripple effect it had on their lives. In laying out this powerful story, this remarkable special report implicitly demands that society re-examine its assumptions about blame, punishment and incarceration.
Judges called â€œFor Their Own Goodâ€ “gripping” and “unflinching,” and applauded it for demonstrating the “profoundly deep” and “long-lasting nature of emotional wounds” that result from physical abuse. They praised Montgomery and Moore for their dogged reporting, commitment to telling the stories fully, and honest and evocative narrative writing that transported readers to the disturbing scenes of the crimes. They also praised Fountain for his powerful portraits that reveal the complex identities of dignified survivors and haunted souls.
Each winning team will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
Honorable mentions, carrying no cash award, went to the Detroit Free Press for “Hostages to Justice” (Jeff Seidel, reporter; Regina Boone, photographer; Rick Nease, artist; David Zeman, assistant managing editor, investigations; Kathy Kieliszewski, deputy director for photo and video; Susan Hall-Balduf, copy editor; Steve Anderson, page designer; and Jason Karas, page designer); the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for “Wounded Warriors: Wounded Families” (Michael Fuoco, reporter; Rebecca Droke, photographer); and “Baker Boys: Inside the Surge” (Kern Konwiser, director; Jon Steele, writer, cinematographer).