NYT’s Barnard wins Mike Berger Award for Best Human-Interest Reporting

Romenesko Misc.
Anne Barnard wins for her year-long series, “A Parish Tested,” which chronicled the travails and triumphs of a Haitian parish in Queens, New York, rocked by the impact of the earthquake in their homeland. Judges called it “a model of the kind of story telling that has always reflected journalism at its best — evocative, insightful and, in so many instances, unforgettable.”


Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism Announces 2011 Berger Award Winner for Best Human-Interest Reporting

New York, NY (May 11, 2011) — Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism today announced that Anne Barnard, a reporter for The New York Times, is the winner of the 2011 Mike Berger Award for her year-long series, “A Parish Tested.” The near-dozen pieces chronicle the travails and triumphs of a Haitian parish in Queens, New York, rocked by the impact of the massive earthquake in their homeland.

The prize, named after the late New York Times reporter Meyer “Mike” Berger, is awarded to a reporter(s) for an outstanding example of human-interest reporting.

Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School, will present Barnard with the award and a $1,500 honorarium, on Tuesday, May 17th, during the school’s annual Journalism Day celebration. “This prize honors exceptional writing about the lives of everyday people.”

Berger Award judges commented on Barnard’s stories depicting stalwart parishioners: “Anne Barnard’s series on the Haitian immigrants of a Queens parish in the wake of the earthquake that devastated their homeland was a model of the kind of story telling that has always reflected journalism at its best—evocative, insightful and, in so many instances, unforgettable. In a field of wonderful entries, her work stood out for its grace and power. Her stories do the Berger legacy proud.”

Barnard started her reporting career in l993 working at The Moscow Times, for two years. She joined the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1996. Four years later, Barnard migrated to The Boston Globe’s metropolitan desk. After 9/11, she went on assignment to Pakistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Barnard then served as Baghdad bureau chief until mid-2005 when she became the Middle East regional bureau chief. She held this post until the Globe closed its foreign desk in 2007. Soon after, she accepted a position on the metropolitan staff of The New York Times.

The Times reporter joined reporters from around the globe assigned to cover the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. She received 1st place in the features category for the New York State Associated Press Associated Press Association (NYSAPA) for part of “A Parish Tested” published in 2010. The Berger prize recognizes all the stories in the series’ entirety.

Mike Berger won a 1950 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for his story on a veteran who went on a shooting spree in Camden, New Jersey, killing several residents. He then re-introduced the newspaper’s “About New York” column in the early 1950’s, setting the standard for evocative and eloquent human-interest reporting. Louis Schweitzer, a New York industrialist who admired Berger’s work, created the prize in 1960.

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