Oct 18, 2012

America’s Promise Alliance has announced the winners of its 2012 Journalism Awards. The Philadelphia Inquirer was honored with the America’s Promise Journalism Award for Awareness for Assault on Learning, a series that exposed pervasive violence occurring in Philadelphia public schools. National Public Radio (NPR) was honored with the America’s Promise Journalism Award for Action for Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, a story that revealed the troubling financial incentive that’s fueling the placement of Native American children in foster care. In partnership with the Journalism Center on Children & Families, America’s Promise created the Journalism Awards to recognize the efforts of journalists working to raise awareness about the needs of young people and those who inspire communities to act on behalf of youth.  

“Ensuring that young people receive the fundamental resources that we call the Five Promises is a vital part of ending the high school dropout crisis and achieving our Grad Nation goals,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise. “Whether it’s inside or outside of a classroom, young people need to feel safe in order to learn and thrive. The injustices in Philadelphia and on reservations throughout the country would not have been brought to light without the hard work and dogged research conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer and NPR. America’s Promise is proud to honor these journalists and hope their example is inspiration for others.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer series provided a first-hand look at the violence and chaos taking place in Philadelphia public schools against students, teachers and administration. The team of Dylan Purcell, John Sullivan, Kristen Graham, Mike Leary, Rose Ciotta, Susan Snyder and Jeff Gammage undertook exhaustive measures to unveil a serious violence issue that was endangering the lives of children and youth and falsely reported by the school district. Bolstered by data, video and a crime report database, the series led to community-wide awareness of the problem and a call to action for school and local officials.

In South Dakota and on Indian reservations throughout the U.S., Native American children were being taken from their homes, often under questionable circumstances, and placed in foster care so that states could collect thousands of dollars in federal subsidies. The NPR team of Correspondent Laura Sullivan and Producer Amy Walters were responsible for the coverage that led to a federal investigation and a resolution from the National Congress of American Indians.

The America’s Promise Journalism Award recipients were selected from the pool of winners from the 2012 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, which have been presented by the Journalism Center on Children & Families since 1994. The America’s Promise panel of judges selected one award recipient from each of two categories: Awareness and Action. Awareness entries were judged on whether the submission provided a fresh take on an existing issue, or highlighted a topic little-known to readers. The Action Award was awarded based on the story’s ability to inspire action that led directly to community-wide change. Each winner received a $5,000 honorarium from America’s Promise in addition to receiving the Casey Medal and its $1,000 prize.

The Journalism Awards are sponsored by America’s Promise board member Jin Roy Ryu, and were inspired by Tim Russert, a distinguished America’s Promise board member who was a tireless advocate for the nation’s young people.  The 2012 judges are:

  • Kenneth Campbell, member, Impact Network, America’s Promise Alliance
  • Sam Fulwood, III, senior fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Mia Jazo-Harris, public affairs specialist, State Farm®
  • Martin McOmber, director of media relations, Casey Family Programs
  • Colleen Wilber, vice president of media relations, America’s Promise Alliance

The Journalism Center on Children & Families is a national nonprofit resource and training center committed to media coverage of children, youth and families, particularly the disadvantaged. Journalists come to JCCF for balanced sources, story ideas, unbiased information and the inspiration to cover critical social issues that impact families and communities. Since 1993, over 14,000 journalists have turned to the center for training, vetted sources, resources and story ideas on children and families.