Magazine article American Journalism Review

2002 Casey Medals for Distinguished Coverage of Children and Family Issues. (Casey Journalism Center Awards)

Magazine article American Journalism Review

2002 Casey Medals for Distinguished Coverage of Children and Family Issues. (Casey Journalism Center Awards)

Article excerpt

Stories of obese children, the treatment of mentally ill teens and an Internet package on teens who "age out" of foster care were among the top winners of the 2002 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism. The awards, first presented by the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families in 1994, recognize distinguished coverage of children and families in the United States. This year's contest attracted more than 200 entries.

Top honors in the print categories went to: the San Francisco Chronicle; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; the Austin American-Statesman; The Albuquerque Tribune; The Herald (Everett, Wash.); The Oakland (Calif.) Tribune; the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.); National Journal; Gambit Weekly (New Orleans, La.); and The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.). First-place awards in electronic journalism went to: the Los Angeles Times; WNYC Radio/New York; WPMI-TV/Mobile, Ala; and Nomadic Pictures.

Twenty-five professional journalists served as judges, evaluating entries for depth and originality of subject, research and documentation, creative presentation and whether the entry conveyed the complex issues that underlie stories of disadvantaged children and families. (Judges are listed at the end of this section.)

First-place winners were honored at an awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., where they each received a Casey Medal and $1,000.

The winning entries are available on the Casey Journalism Center's Web site,

The Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families is a nonpartisan national resource for professional journalists who cover the lives of children and families in the United States, particularly the disadvantaged. CJC is a program of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

2002 Casey Medal Winners and Judges' Comments

Daily Newspapers, 200,000+ Circulation: Daily/Single Story

Kim Severson and Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle, "Growing Up Too Fat."

While many people know that children are fatter today than ever before, this comprehensive and enlightening package probes the causes of childhood obesity and its effects on society. The reporters introduce us to children whose health problems mirror those of middle age; provide eye-opening information about the fat content in fast foods; explore the role of race and class in obesity; and reveal the alarming opinion, especially among teenage boys, that being fat is okay. The "Diary of a Teenage Diet" graphic, charting a week's meals for two high school students, adds a great finishing touch.


Alex Fryer, The Seattle Times, "The Trouble with Eli."

Eli has spent seven years in foster care at a cost of $400,000, but Washington state still can't find a permanent home for him and other behaviorally disturbed children. The 14-year-old is so violent that no one -- not even in group homes -- wants him around. Fryer takes a dispassionate but sensitive look at Eli and his fractured life. He does a masterful job delineating the efforts and choices made on the boy's behalf without vilifying his mother or social workers.

Honorable Mention:

Julie Sullivan and Motoya Nakamura, The Oregonian, "This is How We Live."

Sullivan uses tight, descriptive writing and nice pacing to totally engage the reader in this tale of an exasperated mother trying to care for three autistic daughters.

Daily Newspapers, 200,000 + Circulation: Project/Series

Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "It's a Crime: How Mentally Ill Teens are Trapped in Lockups."

An outstanding project that documented the ill effects of treating troubled youths as criminals rather than providing them with effective mental health treatment, social skill building and job training. …

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