CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s coverage of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the team’s outstanding effort to examine charges and accusations from all sides and sources is the winner of the second annual Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.
“Day after day after day, The Globe met the standards of fairness in examining a sensitive subject and a much-revered institution that news organizations often tiptoe around,” the Taylor Award judges said. The award carries a $10,000 prize.
The judges also recognized two finalists:
The Plain-Dealer of Cleveland for a series that unflinchingly examined 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 for its coverage of chronic wasting disease in deer, the risk to the deer population and its impact on hunting and its potential impact on Wisconsin’s dairy cows.
The winner and finalists will be recognized at a dinner and panel discussion on April 17 at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge.
Ellen Hume, a consultant and former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, initially nominated The Globe for the award. “This series has been excruciatingly difficult because it involves sensational charges against scores of long-time community priests throughout Massachusetts,” Hume said. “The Globe has kept with the story, but it has tried to represent all sides, including the church’s responses.”
Another nominator said the reporting by The Globe represented the essence of fairness in the media. “The Globe’s Spotlight Team uncovered one of the worst scandals of modern times: the sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy. A few months later, after the scandal has spread around the world, [The Globe] launches another investigation to clear two priests who appear to have been falsely accused of that crime.”
The Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family, which published The Globe from 1872 to 1999. The purpose of the award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers.
William O. Taylor, chairman emeritus of The Globe, embraced the idea of an award for fairness in newspapers as a way to give something back to the craft in 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.
The judges for the 2002 Taylor Fairness Award are Amanda Bennett, editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Gregory Favre, a distinguished fellow at the Poynter Institute and former editor of The Sacramento Bee; Les Gura, metro editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and last year’s winner of the Taylor Award; and Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and a former Nieman curator. Current Nieman Curator Bob Giles is the chair of the jury.