The Baltimore Sun has won this year's $10,000 Dart Award for Excellence in Reporting on Victims of Violence for its two-part series titled, "The Joseph Palczynski Story."
Written by Linell Smith, Patricia Meisol, Ann LoLordo and Marego Athans, the articles depict the lives of six young women victimized by one man's extreme physical and psychological abuse.
"The writers made domestic violence -- in some ways an invisible trauma -- visible to readers," one judge commented. "The story read like a novel, creating empathy for the survivors and shedding light on a broad societal problem." The layout also was praised for its subtlety and power.
The Newark Star-Ledger received an honorable mention for "After the Fire," a seven-part series about two young men seriously burned in the dormitory fire at Seton Hall University.
Other finalists were the Detroit Free Press, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Press, Oregonian and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Baltimore Sun received a $10,000 cash prize at an awards reception in Washington, D.C., April 4 in conjunction with the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention.
The Dart Award recognizes outstanding newspaper coverage of victims and their experiences. The winning story must portray survivors with accuracy, insight and respect while illustrating the effects of violence and the process of recovery.
This year's judges were Betty Baye, editorial writer and columnist for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.; John Briere, president-elect of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; David Handschuh, president of the National Press Photographers Association; Sonia Nazario, urban-affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times; and Susan Russell, project coordinator for Vermont Victims Services. The Dart Award is administered by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington. Funded by the Dart Foundation of Mason, Mich., the center develops educational resources for use in journalism schools and news organizations, provides research and information about trauma issues and encourages educational attention to the effects of violence on journalists.
Contact Larry Zalin at 206/616-3223, or see Web site: www.dartcenter.org.