Friday, August 10, 2007

Tribune journalists received Guild's 2005 and 2006 Heywood Broun Awards

Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kaufman (left), of the Hartford Courant clinched the 2006 $5000 award, named for The Newspaper Guild's founder, for their four-day series* “Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight’’, an examination of the U.S. military’s approach to mental health problems within the military. The reporters found that troops were sent into combat despite suffering from post traumatic stress trauma, depression and bipolar disorders and that diagnosis and treatment in the field was negligent at best.

“The Courant series happily lives up to another Broun legacy,’’ said the Guild contest judges in their announcement of the award. “In publicizing the little-known plight of mentally ill soldiers, the paper helped prompt new legislation addressing the flaws in the military’s mental health system…’’

TNG-CWA members and supporters from other labor unions and the media celebrated the journalistic award winners at the annual Freedom Award Fund Banquet, held May 3—World Press Freedom Day—in Washington, D.C.

Heywood Broun founded the American Newspaper Guild (now The Newspaper Guild) in 1933 and was a crusading columnist for the Tribune and The World in New York from 1912 until his death in 1939. He also wrote frequently for The Nation and The New Republic, as well as Harper's, Bookman, American Mercury and Collier's.

Broun is best remembered for his reporting on social issues and his passionate championing of the underdog and the disadvantaged. He maintained a steadfast belief that journalists could help right wrongs, especially social ills. The annual Broun Award is awarded for outstanding work by a journalist, especially work that helps correct an injustice.

Matt Lait and Scott Glover (right), reporters for the Los Angeles Times, won the 2005 Broun Award for “A Case of Doubt” — their review of a 20-year-old murder case** that was so painstaking it forced the prosecutor in the case to question the evidence he had used.

* NPR interview
** AJR story

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