The Star-Ledger Wins Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspaper Coverage

June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p125
This article reports on the 2005 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers received by The Star-Ledger for Last Chance High, a seven-part series by reporter Robin Gaby Fisher and photographer Matt Rainey on an alternative school for teenagers in Orange, New Jersey. Fisher and Rainey captured 10 months of the lives of students and faculty at the Valley School, where teenagers enroll after being expelled from their neighborhood schools. To complete the series, The Star-Ledger's reporter and photographer sat in on classes, group therapy sessions, and meetings with the principal by day and visited the student's neighborhoods at night. The judges praised The Star-Ledger's coverage as exceedingly fair to the students involved, to their teachers and administrators, the educational system, the families and society in a portrayal that was fully dimensional and noted that none of the stories used unnamed sources or unattributed information. The judges also recognized two finalists: Akron Beacon Journal for the series Home Schooling: Whose Business Is It?, reported by Dennis J. Willard and Doug Oplinger; and The Orange County Register for Toxic Treats, an investigative report about lead in imported candy, with stories by Jenifer B. McKim, Keith Sharon, William Heisel, Valeria Godines, and Hanh Kim Quach. The winner and finalists were honored at a dinner and discussion held on April 7, 2005 at the Nieman Foundation. The purpose of the Taylor Award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by U.S. daily newspapers. It was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family. The award carries a $10,000 prize and is administered by the Nieman Foundation. The judges for the 2005 Taylor Fairness Award were Michael D. Sallah, Christine Chinlund, and Chris Waddle. Nieman Curator Bob Giles was chairman of the jury.


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