Deadline Extended to Feb. 3 for Broun, Barr Awards

December 19, 2011

 

We're adding one week to the deadline to get Broun and Barr award entries in the mail. Because of delays in getting our new NewsGuild.org website up, we know some of you didn't get the information as quickly as we intended. Please make sure your entries are postmarked by next Friday, Feb. 3.

 

 

2011 Heywood Broun Award – Eligibility and Requirements

2012 David S. Barr Award – Eligibility and Requirements with Application

 

First presented in 1941, the Broun Award not only is among the most long-lived and most honored journalism prizes, but in an age of team-generated, prize-targeting projects still specifically seeks to honor individual effort. Moreover, the Broun Award prizes above all else the kind of journalism that makes a difference—reporting that “helps right a wrong or correct an injustice.”

Take this year’s winner, for example. David Evans, a senior writer for Bloomberg Markets magazine and former trial attorney for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was presented with the 69th annual Heywood Broun Award at an Oct. 20 ceremony outside Baltimore for his disclosures of war-time profiteering by dozens of life insurance companies. With more than $28 billion in death benefits at stake, Evans’ reporting in 2010 resulted in swift changes at the Veterans Administration—as well as shining a harsh light on the corrosively self-serving actions of corporate lobbyists.

Similarly, this year’s two awards of substantial distinction went to a three-part series on the sometimes tawdry world of bail bondsmen—and their lobbyists—and to a five-part series that profiled the level of medical treatment Las Vegas residents can expect from their hospitals. Both series  resulted in legislative reform efforts.

The postmark deadline for each year’s Broun entries is the last Friday in January, which in 2012 will be Jan. 27. Entries should be of work largely published or broadcast in calendar year 2011 and require a supporting letter explaining the circumstances behind the entry and its consequences. First prize is a plaque and $5,000 prize, plus up to two awards of $1,000 each to runner-up entries “of substantial distinction.”

Sharing the spotlight with the Broun Award each year is the David S. Barr Award, which is presented to one high school and one college journalism entry for reporting that promotes issues of importance to working people and that contributes to the pursuit of justice and fairness. This year’s high school winners, the team of Ben Breuner and Michael Weinstein, won for a five-part series documenting how their local police department had been profiling teenagers. College winner Meagan Gillmore reported on the demolition of a historic downtown—and in contrast to official assurances of economic revitalization, focused on the people whose lives were upended by the project.

The Barr entries also have a Jan. 27 postmark deadline, but unlike Broun entries—which may be submitted by anyone on behalf of anyone—must be supported by a faculty member’s statement. The awards include plaques and a $500 prize at the high school level, $1,500 for the college winner. Additional information about preparing entries for both awards can be found at the TNG-CWA website, www.newsguild.org.

Both awards are named after formative influences in the Newspaper Guild’s development. Heywood Broun was the Guild’s founding spirit, its first president, a highly successful crusading newspaper columnist, a Congressional candidate on the Socialist ticket and a mensch. His outlook may have been summarized best in a 1933 passage when he wrote, “I am a little sick and tired of being classed as soft, bourgeois and sentimental if I say that human brotherhood could solve overnight the problems concerning which men shake their heads and say, ‘It’s too bad but insurmountable.’ ”

David Barr was more recently, and for a great many years, the Guild’s general counsel—and more importantly, its mentor and moral compass.