Center for Journalism Ethics  Announces Award  Finalists

Six projects that combined aggressive reporting on important issues with care for the consequences of that reporting are finalists for the 2017 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics.

The 2017 winner will be chosen from among six outstanding examples of journalism that displayed high ethical standards in the pursuit of truth, said judging chair Jack Mitchell. The finalists are:

  • Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who wrestled with the problem of journalistic deception when he spent four months undercover as a prison guard in a corporate-run Louisiana prison.
  • The Spotlight team at the Boston Globe, which made sophisticated judgments in choosing when to identify victims and accused abusers while investigating sex abuse at New England private schools.
  • In her series “Venezuela Undone,” Associated Press reporter Hannah Dreier balanced journalistic objectivity with her human instinct to help victims as she showed the human cost of Venezuela’s crumbling infrastructure.
  • Kathy Gannon’s “Honor Bound” series for the Associated Press took fairness and balance to an unusual level by seeking to understand the motives of men in some parts of the world who torture and murder women.
  • The Palm Beach Post chose public awareness of a not widely recognized problem over individual privacy when it devoted its front page to the photos of every person in Palm Beach County who had died from a heroin-related overdose in 2015.
  • In her report published in The Guardian, reporter Lauren Wolfe had to weigh whether publishing a story would do more harm than good as she brought international attention to the plight of young girls being kidnapped and raped in a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Shadid Award honors journalists who, individually or as a team, exhibit a strong commitment to ethical journalism by acting with integrity, honoring ethical principles in their practice and/or resisting pressure to compromise ethical principles.

While many stress the hard work of skilled journalists who write compelling stories that serve the public interest, the Shadid Award focuses on the ethical aspects of excellent journalism – the degree to which journalists honor ethical aims and standards.

Past winners of the award include a team of Associated Press reporters whose investigative reporting resulted in the freeing of 2,000 slave laborers used by the fishing industry in Southeast Asia; and reporters and photographers at the Chicago Tribune whose revelations about serious abuses in Illinois’ juvenile justice system brought about reforms.

To read the stories chosen as finalists and their entry nominations, visit the Center’s website at

The Center will announce a winner from among the finalists at its annual ethics conference March 31 in Madison and present the award at a ceremony on April 19 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

ABOUT ANTHONY SHADID: The award is named for Anthony Shadid, a UW-Madison journalism alumnus and foreign reporter for the Washington Post and The New York Times. Shadid won two Pulitzer Prizes for his courageous and informed journalism. In February 2012, he died from health complications while reporting in Syria.

Shadid had a special connection to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Center for Journalism Ethics. He sat on the Center’s advisory board and was a strong supporter of its aim to promote public interest journalism and to stimulate discussion about journalism ethics.

ABOUT THE CENTER: The mission of the Center for Journalism Ethics is to encourage the highest standards in journalism ethics worldwide. We foster vigorous debate about ethical practices in journalism and provide a resource for producers, consumers and students of journalism. We honor the best in ethical journalistic practice and will not hesitate to call attention to journalistic failings. The Center is housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.