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2018 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism winners and finalists. From left, Robert Friedman, Zeke Faux, Zachary Mider, Kathleen McGrory and Kathleen Flynn Lisa Abitbol

Awards & Conferences

Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism

2020 Winner and Finalists

Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. It monitors and harasses families across the county, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

The Tampa Bay Times “Targeted” investigation exposed a police intelligence operation run by the Pasco County, Florida, sheriff’s office that monitored and harassed residents based on their potential to commit crimes, often without probable cause or evidence of wrongdoing.

Targeted,” the Tampa Bay Times’ in-depth investigation by into a police program that for years monitored, intimidated and harassed families in Pasco County Florida, is winner of the 2020 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism.

The reporting by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi revealed that the Sheriff’s Office in Pasco County, Florida, created a secretive data-driven system to proactively combat crime. The algorithm instead was used to try to predict which residents might break the law. The sheriff’s department used that information to target nearly 1,000 people and assigned deputies to repeatedly show up at their homes, often without probable cause, a warrant or evidence of a crime.

Judges selected two other entries as finalists for the Taylor Award:

  • Grace: A Failure in Michigan’s Juvenile Justice System,” a ProPublica series that investigated the case of a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for not doing her schoolwork and the deeply flawed juvenile justice system that allowed her detention.
  • Torn Apart,” a USA TODAY series that showed how the state of Florida used a child protection law to take children from families, often without sufficient cause, and put them directly in harm’s way in a poorly monitored foster care system.

Learn more.

About the Award

The Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism was established by members of the Taylor family, who published The Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999.

The purpose of the annual award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by American journalists and news organizations. The winner receives $10,000. Second and third place finalists receive $1,000 each.

William O. Taylor, chairman emeritus of the Globe, embraced the idea of an award for fairness in news coverage as a way to give something back to the craft to which five generations of his family devoted their working lives.

The Taylor family’s 127-year stewardship of the Globe was characterized by an enduring commitment to fairness. At his invitation, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard agreed to administer the prize in 2001.

How to Apply

  • Entries may be a single story, a photograph, an editorial or a commentary; a series of stories, photographs, editorials or commentaries; or a body of work by an individual journalist.
  • Submitters should consider all aspects of the journalistic process: reporting, writing, editing, headlines, photographs and illustrations, and presentation.
  • The guidelines for the Taylor Fairness Award do not offer a definition of fairness. This is deliberate, recognizing that elements of fairness in journalism are diverse and do not easily lend themselves to a precise definition for a journalism competition.
  • There are many ways to define work that can be held up as an example of fairness. A letter explaining clearly why the entry is exemplary of fairness and how the work was developed, reported and presented to readers in the context of fairness is required. Also describe any special obstacles overcome in obtaining information as well as the impact of the articles on the public interest, such as official investigations and reforms.
  • All submissions must have been published in a U.S. newspaper or magazine or on the newspaper or magazine’s website during 2020. Web-based news organizations may also submit entries, but no broadcast-only entries are allowed. The principle audience for all entries should be readers rather than listeners or viewers.

The application deadline for the 2020 Taylor Award has passed. Entries for the 2021 award may be submitted beginning in the fall of 2021.

For more information, contact award coordinator Christine Kaye at 617-496-6333.

 

Winners & Finalists

2020
Targeted,” the Tampa Bay Times’ in-depth investigation by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi into a police program designed to combat crime that for years monitored, intimidated and harassed families in Pasco County Florida.
Finalists
Grace: A Failure in Michigan’s Juvenile Justice System,” a ProPublica series by Jodi S. Cohen that investigated the case of a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for not doing her schoolwork and the deeply flawed juvenile justice system that allowed her detention.
Torn Apart,” a USA TODAY series reported by Pat Beall, Daphne Chen, Suzanne Hirt and Josh Salman that showed how the state of Florida used a child protection law to take children from families, often without sufficient cause, and put them directly in harm’s way in a poorly monitored foster care system.
2019
Pamela Colloff’s investigation of unreliable jailhouse informants, “He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death,” reported for ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine.
Finalists
Ashley’s Story,” an Indianapolis Star series by investigative reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski that tells the story of Ashley Peterson, a young woman whose challenges in life reflect the devastating long-term impact of childhood trauma.
The TurboTax Trap” by ProPublica reporters Justin Elliott and Paul Kiel that uncovered years of deceptive practices by Intuit, the maker of TurboTax software. The company made billions of dollars by charging customers for services that should have been free and by blocking the U.S. government’s attempts to offer a free tax-filing system.
2018
The Bloomberg News investigation “Sign Here to Lose Everything,” a five-part series about predatory lending practices in the merchant cash-advance industry reported by Zachary Mider and Zeke Faux.
Finalists
Unprotected,” a ProPublica investigation published in collaboration with Time magazine, revealed that a highly lauded American charity operating in Liberia betrayed the very girls it was supposed to keep safe, concealing rapes of girls by a prominent man working within the charity.
Heartbroken” by the Tampa Bay Times showed that pediatric heart surgery patients had died at an alarming rate at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Petersburg, Florida, despite warnings that certain procedures were putting children at risk.
2017
Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois for “The Tax Divide,” an investigative series by reporter Jason Grotto, NF ’15, with Sandhya Kambhampati and Ray Long, exposed an unfair property tax assessment system in Cook County, Illinois.
Finalists
Quantity of Care,” a Seattle Times series reported by Mike Baker and Justin Mayo that exposed excessive greed and medical negligence at a prominent neuroscience institute in Seattle.
Ignoring Innocence,” a ProPublica series by reporter Megan Rose that examined legal cases that forced the wrongfully convicted into plea deals.
2016
The Oregonian/OregonLive for “Toxic Armories,” reporter Rob Davis’ investigation of the hundreds of National Guard Armories across the United States that are contaminated with dangerous amounts of lead dust.
Finalists
Busted,” a ProPublica series reported by Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders about the thousands of wrongful convictions made in the U.S. based on the results of unreliable police drug kits.
Every Other Breath,” by The Post and Courier reporter Tony Bartelme about the impact of climate change and the science behind global warming.
2015
The Associated Press for its trailblazing series “Seafood From Slaves,” which exposed the abusive and inhumane practices common in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry.
Finalists
An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” a collaboration between The Marshall Project and ProPublica.
Insult to Injury: America’s Vanishing Worker Protections,” another collaborative series produced by ProPublica together with NPR.
2014
The Chicago Tribune for “Red Light Cameras,” a comprehensive series that exposed the corruption and mismanagement of a traffic-monitoring program that has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting motorists in Chicago over the course of ten years.
Finalists
The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates” by Chicago Magazine, which revealed efforts by the Chicago Police Department to improve the city’s high crime rate statistics by deliberately underreporting or misclassifying crimes
The Longest Road” a three-part series by The Boston Globe’s Jenna Russell that follows the struggles of a young man with mental illness and his mother as they try to cope with the effects of his illness.
2013
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for “Deadly Delays,” a comprehensive watchdog investigation which reveals how delays in newborn screening programs at hospitals across the country have put babies at risk of disability and death from rare diseases often treatable when caught and treated early.
Finalists
“America’s Worst Charities,” a collaboration between the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting that exposed the country’s 50 worst charities and how they operate.
Trials: A Desperate Fight to Save Kids and Change Science,” a six-year investigation by The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Dockser Marcus into the lives of families and scientists fighting a rare and fatal genetic disease.
2012
The Chicago Tribune for “Playing with Fire“, a six-part series revealed how the chemical and tobacco industries for years misled the public with deceptive campaigns that promoted the use of toxic flame-retardant chemicals that don’t work and pose serious health risks to consumers.
Finalists
The Tampa Bay Times for its “Stand Your Ground,” series which, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, separated facts from misconceptions surrounding Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law.
The Boston Globe for “Justice in the Shadows,” a three-part series that took a close look at the secretive law enforcement system that oversees suspected illegal immigrants in the country.
2011
The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., for “Twisted Truth: A Prosecutor Under Fire,” a three-part series about prosecutorial misconduct by Durham’s district attorney Tracey Cline.
Finalists
The Boston Globe for “Fishy Business,” a two-part series that documented the widespread mislabeling of fish sold and served in Massachusetts
The Asbury Park Press for “Deadly Decisions: Struggling to Understand,” a report on a cluster of suicides by teens and young adults in the Manasquan, New Jersey, area.
2010
The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls for “Growing Up Indian,” an eight-part series that examines the daunting challenges faced by children on South Dakota’s Native American reservations.
Finalists
The Washington Post for “Paths to Jihad,” a five-part series on the pivotal choices made by young Muslims on four continents.
The Sacramento Bee for “Who Killed Amariana?” a three-part series that investigates the circumstances behind the death of a 4-year-old foster child in a mysterious arson fire.
2009
The Chicago Tribune won for “Clout Goes to College,” an in-depth look at improper influence peddling in the admissions process at the University of Illinois.
Finalists
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) and investigative reporter J. Andrew Curliss for his “Executive Privilege” series, an investigation of the legal and ethical problems surrounding former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and his associates at N.C. State University.
The Wall Street Journal and reporter Farnaz Fassihi for “Hearts, Minds and Blood: The Battle for Iran,” a collection of reports that examined the harsh government crackdown on protesters in Iran following the country’s presidential election in June 2009.
2008
The Charlotte Observer won for “The Cruelest Cuts,” its coverage of health and safety violations in the poultry industry. Reporters for the series were Ames Alexander, Franco Ordoñez, Kerry Hall and Peter St. Onge. Ted Mellnik was database editor for the series.
Finalists
The Columbus Dispatch for its four-day series “American Divide: The Immigration Crackdown.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer for “Young Guns,” a series on gang violence.
2007
Chicago Tribune for “Justice in Black and White,” its coverage of racial issues in America.
Finalists
The Palm Beach Post for the five-part series “America’s New Main Street: The Many Faces of Immigration.”
Rocky Mountain News and its four-day series “Beyond the Boom,” which examines the impact of oil drilling on Colorado’s citizens, environment and economy, and uncovers both the positive and negative consequences of the oil boom.
2006
Lancaster New Era won for the series “Lost Angels” about the shooting of 10 Amish girls in a one-room school house in rural Pennsylvania.
Finalists
The New York Times for its stories exposing U.S. government secrecy about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland for the portrayal of a highly respected researcher in the science of plagues and the series of events that put him in federal prison accused of endangering national security.
2005
The Sacramento Bee won for the series “The Pineros: Men of the pines” that describes how Latinos who are now the major source of manual labor in America’s forest industry are misused and abused under the noses of government officials.
Finalists
The Blade of Toledo for the series “State of Turmoil,” which explained how a $50 million investment in a rare-coin fund controlled by one of President Bush’s biggest Ohio fundraisers became a major political scandal.
East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Az., for “Mesa en Transición,” a series that examines the fundamental demographic and cultural shift that is changing Mesa into a primarily Hispanic city from one that’s been heavily identified with white Mormons since it was founded almost 130 years ago.
2004
The Star-Ledger of Newark won for the series “Last Chance High” about an alternative school for teenagers with serious behavioral problems.
Finalists
Akron Beacon Journal for the series “Home Schooling: Whose Business Is It?”.
The Orange County Register for “Toxic Treats,” an investigative report about lead in imported candy.
2003
The Blade of Toledo won for its report “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths” that uncovered Vietnam-era war crimes kept secret for three and a half decades.
Finalists
The Wall Street Journal stories examined the impact and reasons why people without health insurance are forced to pay more for health care.
The Des Moines Register covered Iowa State University Basketball Coach Larry Eustachy’s partying with students that led to his dismissal.
2002
The Boston Globe Spotlight Team won for its coverage of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and its outstanding effort to examine charges and accusations from all sides and sources.
Finalists
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland was recognized for the series “Burden of Innocence” that unflinchingly examines the bitter-sweet life of Michael Green, who was released from prison after serving 13 years for a rape he didn’t commit.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was chosen for its coverage of chronic wasting disease in deer: the risk to the deer population, its impact on hunting and its potential impact on Wisconsin’s dairy cows.
2001
The Hartford Courant won for an article by Les Gura about an instructor at Yale University who became the focus of stories that unfairly cast him as a murder suspect.
Finalists
The Sun of Baltimore was recognized for its story explaining the police and judicial process that resulted in a jury acquittal of a Baltimore teenager accused of killing a police officer.
The Chicago Tribune was honored for the series “Cops and Confessions” examining how Chicago police obtained false confessions from African-American young men with criminal records.