CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 2, 2007) — A series by the Lancaster New Era about the shooting of 10 Amish girls in a one-room school house in rural Pennsylvania has won the 2007 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.
The judges praised the staff of the New Era for its sensitivity in respecting the cultural and religious traditions of the Amish community as it wove a compelling narrative about the girls’ lives, police heroism, the personal anguish of the killer and the forgiveness offered by the families of the five girls who died.
“The newspaper demonstrated an impressive ability to gain the trust of the people who are part of this tragic story,” the judges said. “The stories shed light on worlds usually hidden from public view.”
The judges also recognized two finalists:
The New York Times and reporter Tim Golden for his stories exposing U.S. government secrecy about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Golden’s reporting, which drew on a myriad of sources, was recognized for its fresh and balanced portrayal of the military’s tactics in dealing with prisoners that resulted from broader American policies.
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland and reporter John Mangels for his 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. The judges noted the fairness by which Mangels explained the unintended consequences that resulted from government actions taken in the name of homeland security.
The 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. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
The judges for the 2007 Taylor award were Jennifer Langston, reporter for the Post-Intelligencer in Seattle; David Beard, editor of Boston.com; Amy Ellis Nutt reporter for The Star-Ledger in Newark (NJ) and a Nieman Fellow in 2005; Richard Chacon, director of policy and cabinet affairs for governor of Massachusetts, former ombudsman for The Boston Globe and a Nieman Fellow in 2005. Bob Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation, was 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 1,200 men and women from the United States and 85 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 Sacramento Bee Finalists: The Blade of Toledo and East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Arizona)
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.)