2024 91福利 Journalism Prizes winners and finalists named

The 91福利 Prizes

Honoring excellence in U.S. journalism


The 91福利 Institute on April 23 announced the 10 winners of the 2024 91福利 Journalism Prizes, a contest that honors the best and most important journalism in the United States.

Finalists were also named in the contest, which was previously run by the News Leaders Association and moved to 91福利 this year after the NLA voted to disband. The prizes, which honor reporting, writing and leadership across news platforms, have their origins from contests originally run by the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors.听

“The judges were faced with a problem that the journalism industry can be truly proud of — it was really hard to select winners because there were so many high-caliber choices,” said 91福利 president Neil Brown. “The 91福利 Journalism Prizes honor great journalism that makes a difference and we find it in all kinds of news organizations and in a diverse range of communities. That’s good for society and it bodes well for the media business.”

The contest included a new category this year, honoring excellence in short writing, named in honor of Roy Peter Clark, author and retired longtime 91福利 faculty member known as 鈥淎merica鈥檚 Writing Coach.鈥

The inaugural winner of the Clark Prize was Maggie Prosser of The Dallas Morning News, for part of a larger series about fenantyl鈥檚 effects across North Texas. Prosser, then a 23-year-old courts reporter, interviewed a grieving mother for nine hours, and told her story in 425 moving words, which the judges said revealed the power of short writing.

Cash prizes for the winners are made available through generous sponsors: Advance Publications, Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, editors from the former Knight Ridder company, Gannett/USA TODAY Network, Middle Tennessee University鈥檚 Free Speech Center, The New York Times, The Seattle Times, and the O鈥橞rien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University.

The 2024 91福利 Journalism Prize winners are:

The Batten Medal

Recognizes exceptional journalism that makes a difference to the lives of people and their communities. Sponsored by editors from the former Knight Ridder.

Winner: Casey Ross and Bob Herman, STAT,

Judges鈥 comments: Like so many ground-breaking stories, it started with a tip. STAT aggressively pursued it, and the result was a stunning series of stories that revealed the rigid use of an algorithm to deny care to seriously ill patients in pursuit of higher profits. Each report built upon the previous ones and advanced the untold story of the egregious treatment of patients who had no voice and nowhere to turn for help. The level of difficulty was extremely high; there were no easily accessible public records, and STAT had to build its own sources and documents while skillfully navigating the maze of health care and government bureaucracy. The result is an impactful, gripping series that is clearly written and beautifully executed. STAT made a difference in the lives of patients across the nation by having the courage to pursue such a difficult story and the compassion to help those who were so callously treated by the nation鈥檚 largest health insurer. This extraordinary work embodies the spirit of the Batten Medal.

Full winning entry:

Finalists: The staff of the Boston Globe, ; The Staff of TMJ4 News,


The Frank A. Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting

Recognizes outstanding work done by a news organization that holds local authorities accountable for actions (or inaction). Sponsored by The Seattle Times.

Winner: Jeremy Rogalski, John Gibson, Jennifer Cobb, KHOU-11 TV,

Judges鈥 comments: KHOU-11 investigated the Coffee City Texas Police Department and its police Chief JohnJay Portillo and found that in a city of almost 250 people, there were 50 police officers. More than half of the department鈥檚 50 officers had been suspended, demoted, terminated or dishonorably discharged from their previous law enforcement jobs, according to personnel files obtained through open records requests to other law enforcement agencies. The judges said the series provided strong accountability journalism within the confines of the normal news broadcasts and had clear impact.

Finalists: Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media, ; The staff of the Villages Daily Sun,


The Deborah Howell Award for Writing Excellence

Recognizes distinguished achievement in writing in any medium. Sponsored by Advance Publications.

Winner: Megan Cassidy, Gabrielle Lurie, San Francisco Chronicle, Note: The judges moved this entry from the local accountability category and named it the winner.

Judges鈥 comments:
Proving that impactful writing starts with excellent reporting, San Francisco Chronicle journalists Megan Cassidy and Gabrielle Lurie undertook a courageous, 18-month investigation into how desperate migrants from Honduras鈥檚 Siria Valley provide the labor that fuels San Francisco鈥檚 seemingly intractable drug crisis. The anecdotes chosen to tell the story are straightforward and searing, including descriptions of Honduran mansions emblazoned with logos from San Francisco sports teams, or the vibrant scenes of the humanitarian disaster that drugs have created in the city鈥檚 Tenderloin neighborhood.

Full winning entry:

Finalists: The Staff of the Dallas Morning News, Wright Thompson,


The Dori J. Maynard Justice Award

Honors social justice reporting. Sponsored by the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University.听

Winner: Nicole Dungca; Claire Healy; Andrew Ba Tran, The Washington Post,

Judges’ comments: The judges called it exquisite, tenacious reporting and impact, adding this multimedia series was impossible to put down. It鈥檚 important, institute-changing storytelling that鈥檚 historical and current.听

Finalists: The Staff of The Boston Globe, ; The Staff of Retro Report,


The First Amendment Award

Given to the best example of protecting or advancing freedom of information principles, and/or overcoming significant resistance to the application of the First Amendment. Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University鈥檚 Free Speech Center.

Winner: The staff of the Malheur Enterprise, Public Works and Public Records

Judges鈥 comments: A fantastic example of a small paper doing big work to effect real change in the local community. Though they didn’t provide “multimedia” coverage, they did provide different angles – reporting on the lack of transparency, reporting on the after effect, and providing commentary to explain the importance to their community. That was essentially the work of just one person makes it incredibly deserving. It profoundly changed how public records are viewed in an Oregon community.

Full winning entry:

Finalists: Jim Baumbach, Joie Tyrrell, Dandan Zou, Newsday, ; Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post,


The Burl Osborne Editorial and Opinion Award

Recognizes excellence in editorial writing that has made an impact on behalf of a community, resulting in change for the better. Sponsored by The Dallas Morning News.

Winner: San Antonio Express-News, Political crisis at the border

Judges鈥 comments: The team’s look at how barbed wire is a cruel and ineffective tactic to keep people from entering the U.S. holds back no punches against local leadership. Another column urging President Joe Biden to speak frankly with Americans about immigration similarly offers precise language and formative arguments on why the U.S. immigration policy is so broken.The team’s ambition and creativity continued as they traveled to New York City to see if migrants were welcome beyond Texas. This is a gripping, must-read series.

Full winning entry:

Finalists: The Boston Globe, ; Isadora Rangel, , Miami Herald


The Mike Royko Award for Commentary and Column Writing

Recognizes excellence in writing by an individual expressing a personal point of view. Sponsored by the Chicago Tribune.

Winner: , The Boston Globe

Judges鈥 comments: For her poignant and insightful commentary writing about Boston鈥檚 homeless and the myriad issues they face. Abraham鈥檚 columns are deeply reported and eloquently written. The result is an empathetic, yet respectful look at the everyday struggles of those without permanent homes, trying to survive when often the complicated bureaucracy, which Abraham skillfully notes and calls out, makes that nearly impossible.听听

Full winning entry:

Finalists: Los Angeles Times; Connie Wang and Connie Aramaki, The New York Times,


The Punch Sulzberger Innovator of the Year

Honors a journalist or organization that excels in new ways of executing the craft of journalism and whose work is a bold new approach. Sponsored by The New York Times.

Winner: Adam Clark, New Jersey Advance Media,

Judges鈥 comments: For anyone who has never stepped foot in Wawa, and even those who have, this was a fun and fresh way to tell the story of a company and how it continues to be a cultural phenomenon.

Finalists: Heather Hopp-Bruce, opinion designer, , Monica Ulmanu, senior editor for visual storytelling,


The Robert G. McGruder Diversity Award

For the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in hiring and coverage. Sponsored by Gannett/USA TODAY Network.

Winner: The

Judges鈥 comments: There are so many nonprofit newsrooms that have launched and do not take into account diversity and how to build trust in communities that have felt ignored. The Mississippi Free Press built their newsroom with community and its diversity in mind. They are a beacon of hope in our industry and a true example to follow for other news organizations.


The Roy Peter Clark Prize for Excellence in Short Writing

Honors compelling journalistic writing of less than 800 words in any medium. Sponsored by the 91福利 Institute.

Winner: Maggie Prosser, The Dallas Morning News,

Judges鈥 comments: This 425 word story about a grieving mother revealed the power of short writing, the judges said. It was clearly based upon a foundation of deep reporting and it was based on an important short-writing strategy: that there are small objects 鈥 a hair band 鈥 with big stories hiding inside of them.

Finalist: Kristin Schwab, Marketplace,


91福利 Journalism Prizes final judging board: Paul Cheung, strategic advisor, Hacks/Hackers; Kelly McBride, senior vice president, 91福利; Tom Jones, senior media writer, 91福利; Sitara Nieves, vice president, teaching and organizational strategy, 91福利. Mark Horvit, professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism; Robyn Tomlin, chief news officer, McClatchy, Alison Gerber, editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Emilio Garcia Ruiz, editor in chief, San Francisco Chronicle; Audrey Cooper, SVP of news and editor In chief, New York Public Radio; Ron Nixon, vice president, news and head of investigations, enterprise, partnerships and grants, The Associated Press.

91福利 Journalism Prizes jury participants: Kelley Benham French, Tracy Brown, LaSharah Bunting, Fernanda Camarena, Roy Peter Clark, Ben Conark, Mike Connelly, Ramon Escobar, Manny Garcia, Kristen Go, Kevin Goldberg, Katrice Hardy, Kristen Hare, Amy Hollyfield, Kathleen McGrory, Carla Minet, Benjamin Mullin, Amalie Nash, Jill Nevels-Haun, Tim Nickens, Sitara Nieves, Monica Richardson, Katie Sanders, Will Schick, Mary Shedden, Cristina Silva, Kerwin Speight, Kameel Stanley, Hollis Towns, John Woodrow Cox, Keith Woods, Alexandra Zayas.

Jurors and judges recused themselves from considering entries from their own news organizations and other close involvement or relationships.

Bookmark this page for more information later this year about the 2025 prizes, which will open for entries in January.听