The”Kochtopus,” Female Genital Mutilation, Latino Immigrants and “The Best Investigative Reporter New York Has Ever Seen” Highlight 2010 James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism

March 11, 2011 No Comments

The New Yorker, Village Voice Media, Ladies’ Home Journal, Wayne Barrett and Indianapolis Star Receive Honors

New York, NY, March 7, 2011–Reporters investigating the web of philanthropy, influence and self-interest woven by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, exposing the harrowing tale of a Sierra Leonean woman fleeing female genital mutilation, exposing deeper dimensions in Latino immigrants’ struggles in the U.S., and a career of muckraking injustice will receive James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism at Hunter college in a public ceremony March 30.

The journalists and a “cartoonist with a conscience” are from The New Yorker, Village Voice Media, Ladies’ Home Journal and the Indianapolis Star, and include legendary New York City reporter Wayne Barrett.

They will talk about their work with one another and the public from 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, March 30 in the Lang recital Hall, Fourth Floor, Hunter College North Building, E. 69th St. between Park and Lexington avenues. Refreshments will follow.

Also on hand to comment on the state of social justice journalism will be Alyssa Katz, noted investigative reporter, author of Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us and Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism at Hunter College for Spring 2011.

The winners of the 21st annual James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism, selected for tireless reporting, vivid writing and clear-eyed focus on the American Ideal of “Justice for All,” are:
· Jane Mayer for “Covert Operations” in The New Yorker, one of the first articles to delineate how the Koch brothers’ wealth interweaves massive philanthropy with the funding of think tanks, lobby shops, favored politicians and “astroturf” front groups, including the Tea Party. These operations obscure a pursuit of other issues, such as climate-science denial, opposition to pollution controls and labeling cancer-causing agents – causes that serve the brothers’ business interests in oil refineries, pipelines and manufacturing.

Village Voice Media, which deployed journalists from across its 14-paper chain of alternative weeklies to uncover fresh dimensions in the struggles and contributions of Hispanic immigrants “Amongst U.S.” Some 20 stories published in the course of 2010 etched the dangers Latino immigrants face and the contributions they have made to American society. The pieces counter racially tinged suspicion of immigrants and moves toward a powerful case for coherent immigration law reform.

Jan Goodwin, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, whose harrowing story of a Sierra Leonean woman’s flight from female genital mutilation to the U.S., where she suffered fresh injustices, gained broad impact when it was placed in the Ladies’ Home Journal with a readership of 4.1 million

Wayne Barrett, whose near 40 years of holding New York politicians to account has marked a singularly distinguished career. Ever the alert watchdog on behalf of the poor and dispossessed, Barrett has also mentored generations of investigative journalists, including students at Hunter College, where he was the first Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism in 2006.