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Awards Honor Human Rights and Social Justice Reporting

Contributed by Nick Massella

On Wednesday May 26, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and George Washington University’s Global Media Institute announced the winners of the 42nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and the 2010 Book Awards. The winning entries included diverse subjects such as human trafficking, infant mortality, Navy abuses against gay sailors, and Iranian state repression. The awards were presented by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Mary Courtney Kennedy Hill. Ethel Skakel Kennedy, wife of the late Senator and former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, attended the event.

ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer was among the RFK Journalism Award recipients but was unable to attend. Her award, in the domestic television category for “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains,” was accepted by her colleague Claire J. Weinraub.

Two Washington Post photographers also received RFK Journalism Awards, including Carol Guzy, who won in domestic photography for “No Greater Love.” The RFK Center describes her 2010 entry as “a strong emotional narrative that speaks to the process of dying, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, aging and home health care.” She was also the Grand Prize winner in 2009.

The Washington Post’s Sarah Voisin was recognized for “In Mexico’s war on drugs, battle lines are drawn in chalk” in the international photography category. Her photographic reporting profiles the drug war in Mexico. She said that her inspiration for the assignment came from “the Mexican-based journalists that have to live there and report this story. They face life or death decisions on whether to report the truth about the drug cartels.”

The RFK Journalism Awards honor outstanding reporting on the issues that define the life and work of Robert F. Kennedy: human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world.

The RFK Center also presented the 2010 Book Award, which is awarded to an author who faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy’s concern for the poor and powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity.

This year’s Book Award went to Amy Bach for Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, an investigation of inequalities in America’s criminal justice system. In addition, Dave Eggers was awarded a Distinguished Honor for his book, Zeitoun.

The remaining Journalism Award winners after the jump.


Grand Prize Winner and International Television Winner: “Which Way Home,” Rebecca Cammisa, Home Box Office

Domestic Print Winner: “A New Slavery” Human Trafficking in America,” Laura Bauer, Mike McGraw, and Mark Morris, Kansas City Star

International Print Winner: “Hearts, Mind, and Blood: The Battle for Iran,” Farnaz Fassihi, The Wall Street Journal

International Radio Winner: “In the Kennel – Uncovering a Navy Unit’s Culture of Abuse,” Rachel Krantz. the Youth Radio staff, and
NPR’s All Things Considered staff

Domestic Radio Winner: “This is the South Bronx,” by Miguelina Diaz, Keith Tingman, and Amon Frazier of WNYC Radio Rookies

Cartoon Winner: Series of cartoons, Bill Day, United Feature Syndicate

College Print Winner: “Crossing Lines,” David Kempa, ASU News 21

High School Print Winner: “The Sad Story of How a Gay High School got Derailed,” Isaac Stanley-Becker, U-High Midway

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