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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Finalists for the 2015 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics announced

The Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has named five finalists for the 2015 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics.

  • Fox 31 Denver for the decisions it made about including specific cases in reporting on Medicaid “super utilizers.”
  • The Chicago Tribune for its sensitivity toward sources while reporting on the harsh treatment of juveniles held in detention.
  • The Pittsburgh Tribune Review for pursuit of an apparent cover-up of the killing of civilians by an American in Iraq.
  • Pro Publica for placing raw Medicare data in context in its “Treatment Trackers” project.
  • The Tulsa World for its aggressive, yet sensitive, coverage of a botched execution by the state of Oklahoma.

“While the world often focuses on journalistic sins, we were impressed with the thought and care these organizations gave to serving the public interest responsibly,” says Jack Mitchell, chair of the Shadid Award selection committee and professor emeritus at the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The award honors journalists whose reporting on a specific story or series best exemplifies four key criteria: accountability, independence, commitment to finding truth and minimizing harm. The winner will receive a $1,000 prize and a trip to Madison, where the award will be bestowed at the Center for Journalism Ethics annual conference.

The award is the namesake of journalist Anthony Shadid, a graduate of the UW-Madison, who died in 2012 while crossing the Syrian border on a reporting assignment for the New York Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his courageous and insightful foreign correspondence. Shadid sat on the ethics center’s advisory board and strongly supported its efforts to promote public interest journalism and stimulate discussion about journalism ethics.

“The award reflects the standards Anthony espoused and made central to his work,” says Robert Drechsel, James E. Burgess chair in journalism ethics and the center’s director. “The contest offers an opportunity to model and honor the best in journalistic practice at a time when journalists often find themselves under withering criticism.”

Last year’s award winner was the Associated Press and staffers Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo and Ted Bridis for their handling of the story of the disappearance of an American businessman/CIA employee in Iran.

The Center for Journalism Ethics conference this year will address ethics and sports journalism. The keynoter will be Robert Lipsyte, veteran sports journalist, author and recent ombudsman for ESPN. The program will include panels on money and sports journalism, privacy, investigating sports, the representation of minorities in sports journalism, and the bounds of civil discourse. The conference takes place in Madison on April 10. Registration information can be found at

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