The Deadline Club is pleased to announce the winners in the 2004 Annual Awards Contest, which honors excellence in journalism in 2003. The Deadline Club Awards recognize the best in New York area journalism – printed, broadcast or otherwise distributed. Winners were announced at the Annual Awards Dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on May 18, 2004. The evening featured a keynote address by Andy Rooney of CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
1. Best Spot News Reporting
The Star-Ledger, Staff, “The Suspect Nurse”
The New York Post, Frankie Edozien, David Seifman and William J. Gorta, “Murder at City Hall”
The New York Times, James Barron and Staff, “Power Surge Blacks Out Northeast”
The Star-Ledger teaches us a lesson in how to uncover an important story that authorities don’t want told. Working on only an anonymous tip, Star-Ledger reporters were able to identify a handful of possible suspects in the unusual deaths of a number of patients. Just days later, as Charles Cullen was formally charged with the crimes of killing people in his care, the Star-Ledger produced an exhaustive story package that vividly followed his nursing career. The detailed timeline of Cullen’s career path is a valuable public service to others who may have crossed his path.
2. Best Feature Reporting
The New York Times, N.R. Kleinfeld, “Patients Whose Final Wishes Go Unsaid Put Doctors in a Bind”
Associated Press, Helen O’Neill, “From the Brink”
The Star-Ledger, Amy Ellis Nutt, “The New Plague”
Sonny Kleinfield is a talented, streetwise reporter whose fine style and unique insights make readers care, and care deeply, about strangers who normally would pass us unnoticed.
3. The Daniel Pearl Award for Best Investigative or Series Reporting
The Star-Ledger Staff, “Trenton Outrage”
The New York Times, Matthew Purdy and Lowell Bergman, “Unclear
Danger: Inside the Lackawanna Terror Case”
The Wall Street Journal, Lucette Lagnado, “Twenty Years and Still Paying”
The judges decided that the Daniel Pearl Award for investigative reporting should be shared by New Jersey’s two major newspapers because of the superbly intense coverage they dedicated to the same topic over the course of a year. In their reports about the “pay for play” system of government in New Jersey, reporters for both newspapers followed paper trails, consulted publicly available records, searched court files, tapped computerized databases and worked their sources to alert the public to the excesses of politicians and other government officials. They found many officials were “working the system” to find ways to make money, enhance pensions and find jobs for friends and relatives. The tactics seemed to stay “just this side of the law,” however questionable or unethical. And both newspapers urged reforms on their editorial pages.
4. Best Reporting
Herald News, Kathleen Carroll, “Reverse Course”
The Advocate, Louis Porter and Peter Davenport, “Soundings”
Herald News, Eileen Markey, “Tracing a Killer”
Kathleen Carroll presents an impressive narrative that uses real people to illustrate the story of reverse migration with extraordinary detail. It’s especially impressive that the series not only tells the story of the people involved but also the historical backdrop of Paterson and of the South. Readers learn that steady social change has a human face.
5. Best Reporting
The Village Voice, Kareem Fahim, “Last Bus to Baghdad”
The Village Voice, Sydney Schanberg, Series on the justification for war in Iraq
The Village Voice, Alisa Solomon, “Fleeing America”
In a three-part series, Kareem Fahim, reporting from Jordan and Iraq, introduces American readers to minor characters in the war drama. Fahim’s skillful reporting and vivid writing brings life and recognition to non-Iraqis who took up arms against the United States for their own purposes, and he foreshadows the post-invasion resistance that now dominates the headlines.
6. Best News, Series or Investigative Reporting
Newsweek, Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau, Michael Hirsh, Evan Thomas and Team, Series on al Qaeda
The Nation, Trudy Lieberman, “Hungry in America”
Time, Michael Weisskopf, Brian Bennett and Michael Ware, Series on Iraq
This series adds up to an important piece of work that exposes in telling detail how the world’s most wanted terrorist continued his activities from a mountain hideout following the invasion of Afghanistan. It is a valuable public service with groundbreaking reporting.
7. Best Feature Reporting
Newsweek, Howard Fineman, “Bush and God”
Business Week, Michelle Conlin and Marcia Vickers, “Unmarried America”
Time, Mark Thompson, “The Wounded Come Home”
This administration is known for its lack of openness. Yet Howard Fineman in “Bush and God” enters, literally, into the sanctum sanctorum and returns with a report to give the American public insight into the soul of its leader. The story is perfectly balanced. If a Christian, you read it and cry with joy. If a secularist, you read it and cry with frustration. The piece exists in the chasm of polarized America. And how he got those great quotes is beyond any of us.
8. Best Editorial Writing
Newsday, Joseph Dolman, “A Better Way”
Business Week, Bruce Nussbaum, “The High Price of Bad Diplomacy”
The Star Ledger, Joan Whitlow, Series on Medical Malpractice
An impassioned and convincing argument for taking action to ease a serious problem affecting millions of metro New Yorkers: transportation. Using his knowledge of the subject and ability to make a complicated subject simple, Joseph Dolman outlines a broad vision and specific solutions that, combined, could go a long way toward solving some of the region’s most pressing transportation problems.
9: Best Personal Column
The Journal News, Phil Reisman, Columns on the Yonkers school system
Editor and Publisher, Allan Wolper, Columns on journalism issues
Time, Joe Klein, Columns on the run-up to war
Phil Reisman’s columns on the mismanaged school system in Yonkers are superb examples of hard-hitting opinion and pungent local journalism. His columns are witty, informative and blessed with a strong point of view that he expresses adroitly.
10. Vic Cantone Editorial Cartoon Award
The Star-Ledger, Drew Sheneman, “Cowboy”
The Journal News, Matt Davies, “Turnstile Jumper”
The Record, Jimmy Margulies, “Spam”
Published 15 days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this cartoon addresses a vital issue that will be with us for a long time. Sheneman’s style is unique, uncluttered and poignant, telling “the whole story” in one frame.
11. Best Feature Sports Reporting
Newsweek, Allison Samuels, “Kobe Off the Court”
The Journal News, Ian O’Connor, “The Cost of a Dream”
Newsday, Chuck Culpepper, “Frosty the Football Coach”
When you finish reading Allison Samuels’ profile, you feel for the first time that you really DO know the basketball star. The completeness of the article is stunning. Samuels spoke with teammates, coaches, former girlfriends and others to conclude, “Bryant has been so focused on his career on the court … that he may not have picked up some of the necessary tools in his journey from boy to man.” The article also broke news about the case, including the fact that Bryant had talked with a divorce lawyer months before the Colorado rape charge.
12. Best Reporting – Radio
In a seven-month investigation, WNYC reporters Andrea Bernstein and Amy Eddings uncovered massive problems in the system New York City uses to house the homeless. Their thoroughly reported, riveting series of broadcasts revealed that hundreds of millions of city dollars were being spent without formal contracts or proper accountability. This original, in-depth reporting is an outstanding example of timely broadcast journalism that makes an impact.
13. Best Series or Investigative Reporting – Television
News 12 Westchester, Brian Conybeare, Juri Tatsuuma and Antoinette Biordi, “Wasted Youth”
News 12 Westchester, Lisa LaRocca, “Through Thick and Thin”
UPN 9, Barbara Nevins Taylor, Linda Sachs, Noreen Coles and Kathy Coles, “No Way to Live”
The issue of teenage drinking may not be new, but News 12 Westchester’s series looking into the matter as a local phenomenon was dramatic and timely. After three high-profile, alcohol-related deaths in the community, News 12 began a three-part series that explored the tragic effects of underage drinking on the county’s youth. Through outstanding writing, editing and visuals, and interviews with a broad range of subjects, News 12’s series brought increased public awareness to a life-and-death subject.
14. Best Feature Reporting – Television
Dateline NBC, Robert Gilmartin and Rayner Ramirez, “Meet Jane Doe”
News 12 Long Island, Michael DelGiudice and Patty Barrett, “All in a Day’s Work”
WNBC, Ralph Penza and Allison Gilbert, “Price of a Life”
Two years in the making, this powerful, compelling drama, beautifully written, produced, and edited, gave a human face to the tragedy that was the World Trade Center attack – that of one, at first unidentified, young woman, who was severely injured when walking to work and a jet engine fell out of the sky on top of her and its blades sliced through her hips and legs. We could not stop watching Jane Doe and were brought to tears several times. This was timely feature reporting at its very best.
15. Best Network Television Coverage of the Invasion of Iraq
World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, ABC News Team, “On Location From Baghdad”
CBS News Programs, CBS News Team, Iraqi War Coverage
The ABC News team demonstrated both enterprise and daring as it ventured into dangerous areas and found large caches of previously unseen records which offered deep insight into the Iraqi intelligence network. Going where others had not been may have been foolhardy, but it was certainly brave and enabled the team to tell the story — unvarnished, especially when compared to the official military reports and to the often limited reporting offered by embedded reporters.
16. Best Spot News Photo
Newsday, Moises Saman, “Baghdad Report”
Associated Press, Laura Rauch, “U.S. Marines”
Newsweek, Alex Majoli, “A Fallen Comrade”
Under intense personal and professional pressures, Moises Saman produced powerful images of the pending invasion of Iraq and continued
his extraordinary work after being held in an Iraqi prison for eight days.
17. Best Feature Photo
Associated Press, Rodrigo Abd, Guatemala Series
Associated Press, Jean-Marc Bouju, “Father and Son”
Associated Press, John Moore, “Saddam’s Palace”
This prize recognizes extraordinary access, and how each image in the series places the viewer in the moment. Special attention goes to the image of “the soldier” hugging his son, gun in hand. We loved the combination of hard and soft elements, such as the tattoo-covered, gun-toting father delicately kissing the top of his child’s head as the child’s eyes filled with intense fear, looking off into the distance. Excellent composition of the photographs added to their allure.
18. Best Sports Photo
Sports Illustrated, Bob Rosato, “Chance of Snow”
Associated Press, Adam Butler, Rugby World Cup
Associated Press, Darren Hauck, Wisconsin Beats Illinois
A crystal-clear shot of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez ending the National League Division Series with a play at the plate.
19. Best Business Feature Reporting
Newsweek, Keith Naughton, “The Fast and the Luxurious”
Business Week, Marcia Vickers, “The Most Powerful Trader on Wall Street You’ve Never Heard Of”
The Wall Street Journal, Lucette Lagnado, “Twenty Years and Still Paying”
Detroit bureau chief Keith Naughton landed exclusive access, over a one-year period, to GM’s design studios and engineering “skunk works” for a Cadillac concept car that carries a price tag of $250,000. Naughton’s story is as sleek as the car itself. The article traces the creative drive of GM’s vice chairman and chief of product development, Bob Lutz, as he created a car that “simply will take a back seat to no one.”
20. Best Business News, Series or Investigative
The New York Times, Robert Pear, Walt Bogdanich, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Gardiner Harris, Joel Brinkley, Gina Kolata, Reed Abelson and Melody Peterson, “Medicare Series”
Bloomberg News, David Evans, Abhay Singh, Adrian Cox, “The Flim Flam Man”
The Record, Clint Riley, “Banking on Your Money”
An extraordinarily thorough study of the distortions in health care produced by Medicare legislation, old and new. In a year marked by the addition of prescription drug reimbursement to Medicare, reporters at the Times examined the flawed state of Medicare. Among many other important points, they showed how the government’s own Veterans Affairs Department was able to control prescription drug costs through volume purchasing—and how, in contrast, the Bush administration’s devotion to “market forces” and the pursuit of industry profits prevented that business model from becoming law. This was a tour de force on the business of federally-paid health care – how it really works.
21. New Media – Best Web Site
News 12 Long Island, www.news12.com/LI
Business Week, www.businessweek.com
News 12 fulfills the promise of its tagline, “As local as local news gets.” An easy-to-navigate site with excellent local news coverage of the tri-state area, the site also has features that connect online users to regional news specific to their neighborhoods.
22. The Minority Issues Award
The Record, The Record Staff, Series on Politics and Immigrants
Newsday, Andrew Metz, “Indian Country: The State of the Nations”
Newsweek, Ellis Cose and Allison Samuels, “The Black Gender Gap”
The Record’s reporters delivered a reportorial tour-de-force as they unraveled the questionable fundraising operations of then-gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevy. Jeff Pillet and Clint Riley immersed themselves in Middlesex County’s South Asian Indian Community to show how McGreevy relied on a shaman-like middleman to raise funds while ignoring established legitimate voices in the business community, and their very real concerns. McGreevy empowered a fringe figure, and in doing so exposed his campaign to questionable fundraising tactics that destroyed its legitimacy at the same time as the tactics disenfranchised a large and very successful voting bloc. Well done.
23. The James Wright Brown Public Service Award
Our most prestigious award. Robert U. Brown, the longtime publisher of Editor & Publisher magazine established this award and its stipend, to honor his father, James Wright Brown, who was the founder of E&P and “one of the foremost disciples of honesty in journalism.” The winner of this award receives a check for $1,000, which is still provided by the family.
The Wall Street Journal, Kate Kelly, Susanne Craig, Charles Gasparino, Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Laurie P. Cohen, Series on New York Stock Exchange Governance
The Asbury Park Press, Paul D’Ambrosio, James W. Prado Roberts, Erik Schwartz, Alan Guenther, Mike Symons and Randy Bergmann, “Profiting From Public Service”
The New York Times, David Barstow and Lowell Bergman, “Death on the Job”
By uncovering the large payout to New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso, and abuses fostered by a heretofore “clubby” institution, the Wall Street Journal led the way to improvements in the NYSE and enhanced protection for all investors. The Journal’s coverage, with its detail as well as artful context, fulfills admirably the imperative of public service journalism.