ANN ARBOR—Stories about corporal abuses in unlicensed religious homes for children, the healing power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and continuing slavery in Mauritania won the prestigious Livingston Awards today.
The $10,000 prizes for journalists under the age of 35 are the largest all-media, general-reporting prizes in the country.
The Livingstons also honor an on-the-job mentor with a $5,000 prize named for Richard M. Clurman, the distinguished Time, Inc. journalist.
The winners were introduced by judges Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC News, Ken Auletta of The New Yorker and syndicated columnists Ellen Goodman and Clarence Page at a luncheon in New York.
"The judges have a remarkable record in singling out for early recognition journalists who go on to leadership, including Thomas Friedman, Christiane Amanpour, David Remnick and Michele Norris," said Charles R. Eisendrath, founding director of the program at the University of Michigan. "Adding a prize for mentors who provide indispensible guidance at critical moments in a developing career helped complete an important circle of celebration."
Winners for 2012 work are:
Local reporting: Alexandra Zayas, 29, of Tampa Bay Times, "In God's Name," an investigation of child abuse in religious group-homes. Zayas reported on unlicensed facilities in Florida that are exempt from the state's laws against corporal punishment and state oversight in general. "I sought to tell a story that had gone untold for almost three decades," Zayas said. "The state launched a crackdown on this group of homes in response to the investigation, and the Florida House passed a bill to provide better oversight."
National reporting: Rachel Manteuffel, 28, in Washingtonian Magazine, "The Things They Leave Behind, " a poignant story about the items left by visitors at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. "The objects left behind speak of matters so intimate," Manteuffel said, "they may be indecipherable except to two people – one living, one dead."
International Reporting: John D. Sutter, 29, and Edythe McNamee, 27, of CNN Digital, "Slavery's Last Stronghold," a multimedia story on slavery in West Africa. Mauritania abolished slavery in 2008 but only one person has been prosecuted for slavery since then and the tradition continues. Sutter's and McNamee's interviews with slaves and slave owners found a deeply ingrained system in which family history and skin color continue to separate the free from the enslaved.
Victor Navasky received the Richard M. Clurman Award for his dedication to mentoring young journalists while on the job. Navasky has served as editor, publisher and now publisher emeritus of The Nation. He is the George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and chairman of Columbia Journalism Review. In 1978 Navasky started The Nation Internship Program, which will be renamed the Victor S. Navasky Internship Program this fall.
In addition to Auletta, Amanpour, Goodman and Page, the Livingston judging panel includes Dean Baquet, managing editor of The New York Times; Charles Gibson, former anchor of ABC News; John Harris, editor-in-chief, Politico; and Anna Quindlen, author and contributing editor, Newsweek.
- Livingston Awards: http://www.livawards.org/