2012 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism

Journalism Center on Children and Families
June 29, 2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (June 28, 2012)--An investigation of violence-plagued public schools. A memorable narrative about an autistic young adult achieving independence. A shocking account of unprosecuted rapes on a Native American reservation. An intensive 360-degree examination of a city's infant mortality crisis. Fresh and personal stories by youth who are undocumented, coming out as LGBT, or dealing with multiple mental health diagnoses. A series of columns about a surprising epidemic of childhood hunger. An exposé of federally subsidized infant formula in the Women, Infants and Children program. A photographic essay documenting the journey to recovery of a 9-year-old boy blinded by a stray bullet. A stunning video about families struggling to crawl out of debt and despair caused by the recession. An investigation into a murder, a cover-up and widespread sexual assault of young women volunteers in the Peace Corps. An unforgettable series on Native American children forced into foster care. A detailed exploration into the history, science, economics and experience of autism in America. 

These are the journalistic efforts that rose to the top in the 2012 competition for Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism about the lives of children, youth and families in the U.S. The Journalism Center on Children and Families received entries from more than 500 reporters, editors, photographers, and producers at 100 news organizations. Among the winners: NPR, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, ABCNews 20/20, WNYC's Radio Rookies, Harper's Magazine and Women's eNews.

Judges sought masterfully reported, compelling stories that cut through compassion fatigue on socially significant topics; demonstrated enterprise and thorough research; and made an impact on policy and people. This year's content was so powerful and impressive, judges named a record number of runners up and honorable mentions. The complete list of judges is at the end of this release.

The Casey Medals are a project of the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. JCCF is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Twelve winners will receive $1000 at an awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on October 18. Two winners will receive additional prizes of $5000 from America's Promise Alliance.

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HONORABLE MENTION: "Child Sexual Abuse in the Ultra-Orthodox Community," The Jewish Week (New York), Hella Winston and Robert Goldblum (ed.)

"Abuse Case Tests Ohel's Adherence to Reporting Policy"
"Tragedy in Borough Park Puts Shomrim Under Scrutiny"
"New York Ohel Campaign To Bolster Image Questioned"
"In Lakewood Abuse Cases, A Parallel Justice System"
"News of Abuse Arrests Hailed, Questioned"

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has a long history of handling problems like the sexual abuse of children internally without reporting or cooperating with law enforcement officials. Instead, suspects are subject to a process that involves rabbis, religious tribunals, social workers and community watchdogs. This shadow system ultimately denies justice to victims, casts out whistleblowers and enables perpetrators to continue endangering children. The Jewish Week's coverage encouraged abuse victims to come forward and spurred mainstream media outlets into action. The judges praised the series for sending a message to ethnic media to be unafraid to air and take on problems in their own communities.