About AHCJ: General News
2011 winners named for top health journalism awards Date: 04/04/12
COLUMBIA, Mo. – A touching narrative about a terminally ill man’s choices at the end of life – along with stories showcasing how ethnic communities are coping with diabetes and an investigation into one doctor’s trail of malpractice allegations – were among the top winners of this year’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.
First-place awards also went to stories detailing risks at hospitals – including a higher-than-average rate of violence against workers – and a series uncovering problems with state and federal oversight of private ambulance services in Houston.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took two first-place honors, one for an examination of how a legal standard for mental health commitments has proved tragically inadequate and a second for an investigation into illnesses and deaths linked to contaminated wipes used by hospitals in several states.
David Armstrong of Bloomberg News took first place in beat reporting for his comprehensive coverage of the rapidly growing $300 billion pain management market.
The 2011 awards, announced today by the Association of Health Care Journalists, recognize the best health reporting in 10 categories. This year, the contest’s eighth, the categories were reorganized to better reflect the changing media marketplace. Instead of traditional silos – separate categories for print, radio, TV and online – the contest moved to topic-area categories. Reporters from across mediums competed head-to-head.
AHCJ received more than 400 entries – a record.
"Our judges were very impressed by the caliber of entries, which tells me that reporters are really digging into their beats, despite the ongoing troubles of our industry," said contest chair Julie Appleby, senior correspondent for the nonprofit Kaiser Health News.
AHCJ launched the awards program amid growing concern that too many journalism awards are sponsored by special interest groups that seek to sway media coverage. No health care companies or agencies fund AHCJ's awards program.
Contest entries were screened and judged by more than 45 working journalists or journalism professors. AHCJ board members and contest committee members were not eligible to enter the contest. In addition to Appleby, the contest committee includes AHCJ members Naseem Miller, Victoria Colliver, Cate Vojdik and Robert Garrett.
The awards will be presented during a luncheon April 21 at Health Journalism 2012, the association's annual conference, in Atlanta. First-place winners will receive $500 plus registration and hotel accommodations at the conference. Winners also will speak on conference panels about their work. Those interested in attending can get further information at healthjournalism.org/hj12.
AHCJ is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With more than 1,200 members across the United States and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Its offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.
2011 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism
First: David Armstrong, Bloomberg News
Second: Trine Kristin Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune
Third: Robert Weisman, The Boston Globe
Honorable mention: Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News
First: Dealing With Diabetes: Three Stories of Ethnic Communities Coping with an Epidemic; Pauline Bartolone, Catherine Stifter, Joe Barr, Capital Public Radio
Second: Freedom from Pain; International Reporting Program, University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Al Jazeera English
Third: The Dental Epidemic of Alameda County; Rose Tibayan, John Fowler, Ron Acker, KTVU-Oakland, Calif.
First: Imminent Danger; Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Second: Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities; The Center for Public Integrity, National Public Radio
Third: The Weight of War; Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, Patricia Murphy, KUOW-Seattle
Honorable mention: Pre-existing Condition: Female, Jenny Deam, Diane J. Salvatore, Prevention Magazine
Honorable mention: A Desperate Scramble: Medicare Limits Drugs that Kidney Patients Need; John Gonzales, Lauren M. Whaley, CHCF Center for Health Reporting, Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star
First: Danger Zones; Joe Carlson, Modern Healthcare
Second: Squeezed to Death; Heather Boerner, Lucia Hwang, National Nurse Magazine
Third: Lost in Transition: The Looming Epidemic of Grown-up Congenital Heart Disease, Lisa Nainggolan, www.theheart.org
First: Shattered Trust; staff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Second (tie): Counterfeit Drugs; Sam Hornblower, Kyra Darnton, Sanjay Gupta, M.D., 60 Minutes/CBS News
Second: (tie): Decoding Prime; Christina Jewett, Lance Williams, Stephen K. Doig, California Watch
Honorable mention: Drugging Delinquents; Michael LaForgia, The Palm Beach Post
First: The Case of Dr. Konasiewicz; Brandon Stahl, Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
Second: Cash, Criminals and Human Organs; Michael S. Smith, Daryna Krasnolutska, David Glovin, Bloomberg Markets Magazine
Third: Athlete Buyers, Beware; Betsy Cliff, The Bulletin, Bend, Ore.
Honorable mention: UConn’s Dempsey Hospital off the Charts in Controversial "Double CT Scan" Use; Lisa Chedekel, Connecticut Health Investigative Team
Consumer and Feature (Large)
First: Lives Restored; Benedict Carey, The New York Times
Second: The Screening Dilemma; Kate Pickert, Time
Third: Code Green: Bleeding Dollars; Luis Fabregas, Andrew Conte, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Honorable mention: Home Alone: Adult Health Center Cuts Devastate Elderly, Disabled; Jocelyn Wiener, Lauren M. Whaley, CHCF Center for Health Reporting with New America Media
Consumer and Feature (Small)
First: His Final Choice: Reflections on Life, Death and a Lethal Dose of Seconal; Tahlia Honea, Skagit Valley (Wash.) Herald
Second: The Woman Who Fell to Earth; Ruthann Richter, Stanford Medicine Magazine
Third: Sex After Breast Cancer; Georgie Binks, Best Health
First: Is Houston EMS Taking Medicare For A Ride? Terri Langford, Yang Wang, Houston Chronicle
Second: ER building boom is wrong prescription, critics say; Carol M. Ostrom, The Seattle Times
Third: Inside Pfizer’s Palace Coup; Peter Elkind, Jennifer Reingold, Doris Burke, Fortune
Honorable mention: Challenging the Way DaVita Does Business; Michael Booth, Jennifer Brown, Christopher Osher, The Denver Post
Special Citation: Blue Cross Flush with Cash; Renee Dudley, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.
NOTE: See more about each winner, including a summary of the entry and the judges' comments. On that page, AHCJ members can click on the title of the entry to see the questionnaire about how the story was reported.