READ THIS YEAR'S AWARD-WINNING ENTRIES
The White House Correspondents' Association presented three major journalism awards at the annual dinner to recognize distinguished reporting. The awards are among the most prestigious in our field. The three contests are open to print and broadcast journalists.
To enhance credibility through independent judging, the judging panels for the three awards we administer are put together and run by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Assistant Dean Ellen Shearer, co-director of the Northwestern University's Medill News Service in Washington, helped coordinate the judging of the following three contests. Here are the award-winning entries in PDF format.
The Merriman Smith MEMORIAL Award
The Merriman Smith Memorial Award ($2,500 for each winner) recognizes presidential news coverage under deadline pressure, with separate awards for print and broadcast journalists.
Winner--print: Ben Feller of the Associated Press
Ben Feller was cited by the Smith award judges for his coverage of President Obama's surprise, late-night visit to Dover Air Force Base. They said Feller had "little advance notice of President Barack Obama's trip to Dover Air Force Base on Oct. 28. 2009, but filed a series of middle-of-the-night compelling updates capped by a final story whose style had echoes of Edward R. Murrow in its taut, gripping writing. His story put readers at the scene while giving them context and background."
Winner--broadcast: Jake Tapper of ABC News
Jake Tapper won for his story that revealed former Senator Tom Daschle's tax problems that derailed his nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. The judges said Tapper's reporting was a "perfect lesson on getting news no one else has on a beat in which it is hard to do so, getting it out fast and accurately with background and context and using the Web to augment the on-air reporting."
The Aldo Beckman Award ($1,000) recognizes repeated excellence in White House coverage, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries may be made in the form of clippings, original material, wire service printouts, photocopies or broadcast scripts.
Winner: Mark Knoller of CBS News
Mark Knoller was cited for his body of work covering the White House for more than 35 years. The judges hailed his "insightful reporting on multiple platforms" including radio, television, blogs and now Twitter. "His meticulous record-keeping as an unofficial archivist of the presidency serves the public and keeps the White House accountable," the judges said. "Mark Knoller lives and breathes reporting. The public is well-served by his tireless efforts.
The Edgar A. Poe Award ($2,500) recognizes excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries may be in the form of clippings, original material, wire service printouts, photocopies or broadcast scripts. Broadcast tapes may also be submitted with scripts.
Winners: Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman of the Contra Costa, California, Times
Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman won the Poe Award for their four-part entitled, "Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters."
"In the midst of the national health care debate, these exceptionally well-reported stories offer unique and valuable lessons for public health policy," said the Poe award judges said.
"Through extensive use of county health records, Bohan and Kleffman stand conventional wisdom on its head, providing powerful evidence that variations in disease rates and life expectancies between neighborhoods in Alameda County, Calif., are not--as widely assumed--the result of poor people making bad choices about diet and exercise. Rather the discrepancies stem from multiple forces that deny those living in poor communities access to the basic resources necessary to engage in a healthy lifestyle, however great their desire to do so. These powerful and poignant stories provide an important new lens that snaps the health care debate into sharp focus. While looking closely at these issues at the county level, the stories in this series have profound national and regional implications, providing strong evidence that blaming the victims is not a substitute for dealing seriously with the underlying causes of the health care crisis."
Return to the 2010 AWARDS page for additional information about the recipients and this year's ceremony. See the list at right for information about past awards.