RFK Book + Journalism Awards
2019 JOURNALISM AWARD WINNERS

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High School Broadcast Winner

“A Bay 11 Podcast Special: Wildfire”

 Emily Peebles, Ellen Fountain, Hayden Pyle, Kaylinn Clotfelter, Sophia Vaughn, Bay 11 Podcast

A week after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, thanks to a meme, a rumor of violence spread like wildfire through our school and our north side community.  This podcast examines the anxiety, uncertainty, and outright fear many were experiencing when for just a moment, we understood that it could happen here.  What took place at Parkland was a true tragedy.  What took place at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, MO, 1500 miles away, provided a sobering reminder of the volatile times we are growing up in.   

High School Print Winner

“Trafficked: Human Trafficking in St. Louis”

 Jacob LaGesse, Michael Bernard, Gracie Morris, and Lila TaylorClayton High School Globe

St. Louis is the 15th largest capital of sex trafficking in the country due to the convergence of highways and our international airport -- all located in the geographic center of the country. We learned that very rarely are victims kidnapped and forced to sell their bodies, like sex trafficking victims are portrayed in media. Instead, many insecure girls and boys are manipulated into complying with the wishes of a “partner” which result in a trafficking situation. Parents will even sell their children’s bodies as a way to make money. We felt, as a staff, that this topic, however distressing, was one that needed to be shared. There is very little coverage surrounding sex trafficking in the media, despite it being a major problem and it was important to us that our peers and the community in Clayton have access to information to avoid this fate, as well as be able to recognize the signs, and act on their observations.

College Journalism Winner

“Hate in America”

Carnegie-Knight News21, Arizona State University

More than 2.4 million crimes, whose victims suspect were motivated by hate, were committed across the United States over a four-year-period. “Hate in America” is based on hundreds of interviews and crime victimization data that documents a growing intolerance based on race, religion or sexual orientation. The stories and a 30-minute film document an emerging increase in  those targeted in hate crimes by a surge of white supremacists and others who seek to victimize others. Much of this movement now is orchestrated through social media and far right users with millions of followers and whose posts are shared tens of thousands of times.

Domestic Print Winner

“Torn Apart: Immigration in the Era of Trump”

The Associated Press Staff, The Associated Press

Few events captivated the public in 2018 as powerfully as the many scenes of children separated from their parents at the U.S. - Mexico border. Some would be put in cages, others hauled into court for immigration proceedings - even though they were still in diapers. No matter where one stood on the details of immigration, the natural inclination to want to protect children exerted a powerful influence on the national debate over President Donald Trump's policies. Throughout the year, The Associated Press focused a critical spotlight on how these most vulnerable - the children - were affected by the president's approach to migration, with reporting that brought global awareness to the human toll and numerous calls for change. 

International Print Winner

“Saudi Arabia’s Tragic War in Yemen”

The Staff of The New York Times, The New York Times

A string of groundbreaking articles and searing photographs in The New York Times changed the international discourse on Yemen, helping turn a largely invisible war into a major issue of world concern. Times journalists braved the front lines to give the world a rare close-up of the war destroying the Arab world’s poorest country. They documented the toll of a looming famine created largely by Saudi policies. They teased out the U.S. role in the war, including the use of American weapons in killing civilians. And they found a starving 7-year-old girl named Amal Hussain, whose heartbreaking portrait brought the crisis to world attention.

Domestic Photography Winner

“The Road to Asylum: Inside the Migrant Caravans”

 Carolyn Van Houten, The Washington Post 

 In 2018, thousands of Central American migrants traveled more than 2,500 miles from their homes in the Northern Triangle through Mexico in caravans. Many said they were fleeing violence and poverty in hope of a better life for their children. This photographic essay follows asylum seekers and migrants from two caravans over the course of eight months. When they reached the border, they heard conflicting information about the asylum process and frequent news about President Trump’s proposed wall and opposition to their arrival. Amid the confusion, migrants had to decide whether to wait their turn in squalid conditions, turn back, or cross illegally—often with children in tow. The Road to Asylum: Inside the Migrant Caravans vividly captures the life of migrants propelled by fear and resolve toward an increasingly hostile United States.

International Photography Winner

“The Great March of Return”

Marcus Yam and Alan Hagman, The Los Angeles Times

Radio Winner

“Buried Truths”

Hank Klibanoff, Dave Barasoain and John Haas, WABE

In 1948 Isaiah Nixon, a black husband and father, exercised his right to vote in rural Georgia and was killed by white neighbors for doing so. Buried Truths season one tells Isaiah Nixon’s story, unearthing a still-relevant tale of injustice, resilience and racism in the American South. Across six episodes, the podcast investigates voter suppression, southern sheriffs, racial myths and etiquette, the reliability of self-defense as an alibi, and the role of the black press.

Buried Truths doggedly excavates seven decades of history through interviews with Isaiah Nixon’s daughter Dorothy, who saw her father gunned down, and with the families of the men who stood with him at the voting booth and the men who killed him. Aided by archival audio from segregationist politicians, deep investigation of FBI documents and NAACP reports, as well as a college student’s discovery of Nixon’s gravesite 67 years after the family lost track of it, Buried Truths shows that while we can’t change our history, we can let it guide us to understanding.

New Media Winner

“Trapped in Gangland”

 Hannah Dreier, ProPublica, in collaboration with New York magazine, Newsday, This American Life and The New York Times Magazine

The Central American gang MS-13 accounts for just 1 percent of U.S. gang murders. But when President Donald Trump took office, he seized on the gang to promote tougher immigration laws. In a series of powerful narratives, in collaboration with New York magazine, Newsday, This American Life, and The New York Times Magazine, ProPublica reporter Hannah Dreier showed how the government’s bungled crackdown on MS-13 has torn apart the lives of Latino immigrants — deporting innocent teenagers, burning sources, and failing to prevent further violence.

Cartoon Winner

“Mark Fiore editorial cartoons”

Mark Fiore, KQED News and online news websites

The most glaring example of injustice tackled in Mark Fiore's recent collection of cartoons has been the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border. Even after various administration statements and an executive order, family separation continued -- and we later found out the practice began before we knew it had started.

Fiore delved into the different aspects of family separation: from the physical separation of children of all ages to the lasting psychological impacts on children, parents and guardians -- and collaborated with KQED News reporters Tyche Hendricks and Julie Small for “Filomena’s Flight,” and with John Sepulvado, who interviewed a distraught mother in an ICE immigration detention facility.

Domestic Television Winner

“Atomic Homefront”

Rebecca Cammisa, James B. Freydberg, Larissa Bills, Unseen Hand, Bill Benenson, Laurie Benenson, Rose Villaseñor, Adilia Aguilar, Mary Recine, Olivia Negrón, Sheila Nevins, Sara Bernstein, Madeleine Gavin, Claudia Raschke, and Robert Miller, HBO

Atomic Homefront shines an urgent and devastating light on the lasting toxic effects that nuclear waste can have on communities. Focusing on a group of moms-turned-advocates in St Louis, Missouri, the film follows the women as they confront the EPA, government agencies that are slow to provide aid, and the corporations behind the illegal dumping of dangerous radioactive waste in their backyards.

International Television Winner

“UN Sex Abuse Scandal”

Ramita Navai, Sam Collyns, Dan Edge, Andrew Metz, Raney Aronson, FRONTLINE PBS

Travelling to remote and unstable areas of the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, director Sam Collyns and reporter Ramita Navai track down survivors who were as young as 10 when they say they were raped or exploited by UN peacekeepers who were supposed to protect them.

At every location they visit, Collyns and Navai uncover new, unreported cases of abuse — suggesting there are many more victims than the U.N. claims. The team finds that the U.N.’s own count of sex abuse and exploitation victims is woefully low, and learns that when victims do come forward, the U.N. has been slow or failed to act.

The team uses the evidence they collect on the ground from neglected survivors to hold the UN to account — and to show where they and member states have failed to protect and help victims.  

PHOTOGRAPHY SPECIAL RECOGNITION

“Undocumented”

John Moore, Getty Images

Getty Images special correspondent John Moore has focused on the issue of undocumented immigration to the United States for more than a decade. Moore’s dedication to fairness in photographing immigrants during their journey as well as to U.S. federal agents tasked with deterring them sets his pictures apart. His objective in his photo reportage has always been to humanize all sides of the story. His book Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border, published in 2018 by Getty Images and powerHouse Books is the essential visual record on the dominant U.S. domestic topic today. Moore's photograph "Crying Girl on the Border" was named the 2019 World Press Photo of the Year.