Crusading Journalists, Media, and a Cartoonist to Receive 2010 Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism at Hunter College

March 9, 2011 | Hunter College

A stellar group of journalists and media will receive the 2010 James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism at a public ceremony to be held at Hunter College on March 30.

Hunter has been giving these awards since 1990. Selected by the College’s Department of Film & Media Studies and a committee of journalists, media professionals, scholars, and activists, the winners are chosen for “ambitious reporting, vivid writing, and clear-eyed focus on the American ideal of justice for all.” Winners this year are:

Wayne Barrett, a longtime investigative journalist renowned for holding New York politicians to account and serving as an alert watchdog on behalf of the poor and dispossessed. A dedicated mentor of generations of investigative journalists, in 2006 he was the first Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism at Hunter.

Jan Goodwin, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, whose story of a young woman’s flight from genital mutilation to the U.S. was published in Ladies Home Journal, with a readership of 4.1 million.

Jane Mayer for “Covert Operations” in The New Yorker, one of the first articles to detail how the wealth of the brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch interweaves massive philanthropy with the funding of think tanks, lobbyists, favored politicians and front groups including the Tea Party.

Village Voice Media, which deployed journalists from across its 14-paper chain of weeklies to uncover fresh dimensions in the struggles and contributions of Hispanic immigrants “Amongst U.S.” Some 20 stories published in 2010 etched the dangers Latino immigrants face and the contributions they have made to American society.

In addition, the Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning with a Conscience was presented to:

Gary Varvel, for “The Path to Hope” in the Indianapolis Star, a portrayal of the everyday hardships faced by the poor.  Different chapters took up issues such as literacy, transportation, access to healthy food, and domestic and neighborhood violence.

The winners will discuss their work at the awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday, March 30, from 7-9 pm in the Lang Recital Hall, Fourth Floor, North Building. Also on hand to add comments on the state of social justice journalism will be investigative reporter Alyssa Katz, author of Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us and Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism for spring 2011.

James Aronson (1915-1988) was a longtime and highly distinguished Hunter professor of journalism and a founder and editor of the crusading newsweekly The National Guardian. His wife, Grambs Aronson (1916-2010), inspired the committee to add a prize for editorial cartooning with a conscience. She died a year ago.