N.Y. Times, Anchorage Daily News win disability reporting awards

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Journalism Awards

The National Center on Disability and Journalism has announced the winners of the 2014 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability.

The first-place award went to the New York Times for its story “The ‘Boys’ in the Bunkhouse,” detailing the stories of 32 men with mental illnesses who were abused for more than three decades at an Iowa turkey farm. The case led to the largest jury verdict in the history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and has sparked a larger movement to eliminate federal loopholes that allow employers to pay people with disabilities subminimum wages.

Dan Barry, Kassie Bracken and Nicole Bengiveno were the lead reporters for the article.

The second-place award went to the Anchorage Daily News, for its series “State of Intoxication – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.”

The series documents the “silent epidemic” of children born with fetal alcohol syndromes in Alaska, as a result of alcohol consumed by their mothers during pregnancy. As detailed by reporters Kyle Hopkins and Marc Lester, the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome can arise in the first few days after conception, before the mother even knows she is pregnant.

Alaska has taken a variety of steps to reduce the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome, with the support of federal grants and new state legislation. The results are decidedly mixed.

The inaugural Katherine Schneider Journalism Award, in 2013, was given to California Watch for its extensive investigation into abuse at five California developmental centers, which was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The Center is part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.