2012: "Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark," May Ying Welsh
44th Annual RFK Journalism Awards (for 2011 Coverage)
Grand Prize Winner and International TV Winner
"Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark" by May Ying Welsh (Cinematographer, Writer, & Director), Hassan Mahfood (Field Producer), and Jon Blair (Executive Producer)
Al Jazeera English
Bahrain: An island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf where the Shia Muslim majority are ruled by a family from the Sunni minority. Where people fighting for democratic rights broke the barriers of fear, only to find themselves alone and crushed. "Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark" is their story, and Al Jazeera is their witness-the only TV journalists who remained to follow their journey of hope to the carnage that followed. This is the Arab revolution that was abandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West, and forgotten by the world.
Domestic TV Winner
"Crime After Crime" by Yoav Potash
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
"Crime After Crime" is the exclusive documentary film on the dramatic legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman imprisoned for over a quarter century due to her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. Despite years of abuse and decades of incarceration, Debbie remains an inspiring and upbeat individual, leading the prison's gospel choir and teaching other inmates to read and write while behind bars. She finds her only hope for freedom when two rookie attorneys with no background in criminal law step forward to take her case. The film has helped launch a movement to pass laws that can prevent victims of domestic violence from being wrongfully incarcerated. “Crime After Crime” has earned 22 awards, including The Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism, The Golden Gate Award for Investigative Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival, The Documentary Grand Prize at The Heartland Film Festival, The Justice Matters Jury Prize at the Washington DC International Film Festival, and six film festival Audience Awards. Filmmaker Yoav Potash is now writing a dramatic screenplay based on "Crime After Crime."
"Native Foster Care Lost Children, Shattered Families" by Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters
National Public Radio (NPR)
NPR launched one of its most compelling and powerful radio pieces of the year, a three-part series investigating the placement of hundreds of Native American children in foster care and a troubling incentive behind that effort: Money. NPR's series found that despite federal law, at least one state, South Dakota, is removing roughly 700 Indian children from their families every year – sometimes in questionable circumstances – and at the same time, is largely failing to place those children with their families or their tribes as the law requires. Instead the children are placed in state-run foster care or group homes, enabling states to collect thousands of dollars in federal subsidies. The series found 32 other states are also failing in some way to abide by the federal law.
International Photography Winner
"Broken Promise: Gold Mining in Peru's High Andes" by Michael Robinson Chavez
The Los Angeles Times Magazine
Fifty thousand people live in Rinconada, the world’s highest city. At 17,000 feet there is little oxygen. There is no law, sanitation, heat or color in this toxic city...only gold. The soaring price of gold draws Peruvians, including doctors and lawyers, to abandon all and go to Rinconada and try their luck at making a fortune.
Domestic Photography Winner
A Lasting Toll by Katie Falkenberg
The Los Angeles Times
Although it has been two years since the official end of the Great Recession, Californians from all socioeconomic levels remain some of the hardest hit. "A Lasting Toll" follows three families from different walks of life as they struggle with the lingering effects of the recession, and begin to face the possibility that they may never fully recover. The photographs give a face to California’s grim statistics: high unemployment rates, sharp declines in household income and increasing poverty.
International Print Winner
"China: Living Under the Yoke" by Tom Lasseter
For his stories, Lasseter travelled across China documenting a troubling set of issues on the other side of the nation’s meteoric economic rise. Among them are a widening divide of income and privilege, rampant corruption and a profound lack of rule of law. Tracing the narratives of ordinary Chinese frustrated by those issues, which at times ended in tragedy, Lasseter's reporting points to a question that’s crucial to the future of the world’s second-largest economy: How will the Chinese Communist Party, having overseen three decades of tremendous growth, now address a growing set of domestic challenges?
Domestic Print Winner
"Imminent Danger" by Meg Kissinger
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s series "Imminent Danger" wins the domestic print category for its explanation of a 40-year-old federal lawsuit that established a new national standard for mental health commitment. While the new legal standard helped many people find the road to freedom, it also proved to be a tragically inadequate measure of who is sickest and in the most dire need of treatment.
"The Beginning of the American Fall and Code Green" by Stephanie McMillan
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Stephanie McMillan self-syndicates the editorial cartoon "Code Green," which focuses exclusively on topics related to the environmental crisis. Her comics journalism piece about the Occupy protests, "The Beginning of the American Fall" was originally commissioned by the Cartoon Movement, and will be expanded into a book to be published this fall by Seven Stories Press. She has been active around social justice and environmental issues for most of her life.
"Stateless in the Dominican Republic"
Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication
"Stateless in the Dominican Republic" is a project produced by 17 students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The students traveled to the Dominican Republic to report on immigration and border policies and their impact on people who live in the country’s poorest bateyes and along the porous border with Haiti. Their work is displayed on a multimedia website, in a printed magazine and in a 30-minute documentary.
High School Print Winner
"A Light on Latinos" by Anna Sturla and Daniel Tutt
Davis Senior High School
"We chose the name 'Light on Latinos' because we saw the Latino community in our school was largely isolated from the rest of the student body. By writing this series, we tried to illuminate a set of issues unique to this culture, including migrant students and the likelihood of a majority-Latino California. Serving as our series' center piece was our article on students traveling miles out of our small college town to play soccer on Spanish-language teams, despite the high-ranking local league. With this article we hoped to show the cultural isolation felt by some Latinos in our school through the prism of a popular game."
High School Broadcast Winner
"The Power of One" by Jared Iler and Anna Reed
Cody High School
"The Power of One" is a student produced story on a classmate's quest for the truth. The story chronicles Preston Randolph's dedication to free Leonard Peltier from three decades in jail for allegedly murdering two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. Through tedious research, Randolph believes Peltier is innocent and sets out to produce a feature length documentary film that will hopefully free him. The report focuses on the plight of one person who, with modern tools for telling the story, may be able to affect social change and right a 30-year old wrong.