CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A series by The Sacramento Bee about the misuse and abuse of Latino immigrants who work in America’s forest industry has won the 2006 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.
The Taylor Award, which carries a $10,000 prize, was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family, which published The Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999. The purpose of the award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers.
In nine months of work on “The Pineros: Men of the pines,” Tom Knudson and Hector Amezcua of The Sacramento Bee discovered that some of the contractors who employ these workers have been cited for violating federal labor laws, yet the contractors are paid with federal funds. Knudson and Amezcua also learned that “much of the mistreatment is unfolding inside a government program that invites foreign workers to the United States to fill labor shortages,” they reported in the first story of the series.
The judges praised the Bee’s series for including all the groups affected by this timely issue and for “the way the pictures and stories gave a voice to people who are rarely heard.”
The judges also recognized two finalists:
- The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) 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. Columbus Bureau Chief James Drew and staff writers Mike Wilkinson, Steve Eder, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Joshua Boak and Jim Tankersley reported on the scandal. Special Assignments Editor Dave Murray managed the Blade’s investigation.
- East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.) for “Mesa en Transicion,” 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. Mary K. Reinhart, Kristina Davis, Blake Herzog, John Yantis, Brian Powell, CeCe Todd, Jennifer Pinner, Slim Smith, Leigh Shelle Hunt and Julio Jimenez contributed to the series. Patti Epler was the project editor.
The judges for the 2006 award were Robin Gaby Fisher, a 2005 Taylor Award winner from The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.); William B. Ketter, editor in chief and vice president of news at The Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.); Terry Tang, metro beats editor at The New York Times and a 1993 Nieman Fellow; and Melinda Patterson Grenier, Nieman Foundation director of communications. Nieman Curator Bob Giles was the chair of the jury.
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 Nieman Foundation also administers the nation’s oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists. Since 1938, more than 1,100 men and women from the United States and 77 other nations have come to Harvard as part of the fellowship program. In addition to the fellowships, the Nieman Foundation publishes Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism. The foundation also is the home of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism and the Nieman Watchdog Project, which encourages reporters and editors to monitor and hold accountable those who exert power in all aspects of public life.
PREVIOUS TAYLOR FAIRNESS AWARD WINNERS AND FINALISTS
Winner: The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)
Finalists: Akron Beacon Journal and The Orange County Register
Winner: The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
Finalists: The Wall Street Journal and The Des Moines Register
Winner: The Boston Globe
Finalists: The Plain-Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Winner: The Hartford Courant
Finalists: The Sun (Baltimore, Md.) and The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, La.)