Savannah's "Vision 2010" Wins Batten Award
Civic Legacy and Innovations Cited
Washington, DC, March 21, 2002 -- The Savannah Morning News won the 2002 Batten Awards for Excellence in Civic Journalism, a $10,000
honor for a robust, community-driven project that targeted failing schools
and triggered the creation of a civic group to raise venture capital for
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The runner-up was The Cincinnati Enquirer, awarded $5,000 for
wide-ranging initiatives that involved more than 2,000 people in community
conversations about race relations since last April's riots.
Both the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Wisconsin State Journal with WISC-TV were honored with $5,000 prizes for creative and enduring work that, over
the past decade, built momentum in their communities and created fresh
models of journalism that other newsrooms have replicated.
And for the first time this year, the Batten Advisory Board awarded three
Innovator Awards for Web efforts that foreshadow the future of interactive
news - GothamGazette.com's election project, 360degrees.org's criminal
justice reports, and the Everett (WA) Herald's clickable map on
"This year's winners show that civic journalism can be cool and compelling,"
said Jan Schaffer, director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which
sponsors the awards. "The winners engaged people in learning, in building
relationships, in making a difference and in having fun." The winners
will be honored April 22 at the eighth annual James K. Batten Awards and
This year's program, "Civic Journalism: Celebrating the Past, Focusing
on the Future," will be presented by the School of Journalism and Mass
Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
- Savannah's "Vision 2010" project engaged a large citizen task force
in forums, small discussions and visits to 15 U.S. schools to figure out
how to improve local education by the year 2010. Morning News reports on their journey of discovery and their "no-excuses" solutions
has built volunteer support, efforts to start model programs, and the
launch of a community foundation to raise education funds. http://savannahnow.com/features/vision2010/
- The Cincinnati Enquirer, working with nearly all the city's media
outlets, spearheaded two efforts, "Divided by Race," and "Neighbor
to Neighbor," which used polls, roundtables and community conversations
that have involved more than 2,000 people in conversations in their own
- The Wisconsin State Journal and partner WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate,
won for "Schools of Hope," a five-year initiative that used investigative
reporting, polls, town halls, brainstorming sessions and the creation
of a local leadership group to mobilize 800 school tutors and other efforts
that have helped close the achievement gap between minority and white
students. The partners are part of the long-running "We the People Wisconsin"
civic journalism collaborative. www.wisconsinstatejournal.com/
- The St. Paul Pioneer Press was applauded for a series of projects
- "Safer Cities," "Across Generations," "Poverty Among Us," and
the "New Face of Minnesota" - that created many fresh entry points
for citizens to take action. The resulting book clubs, discussion guides,
forums, chat rooms and multi-lingual polls engaged thousands of Minnesotans.
- GothamGazette.com's "Searchlight on Campaign 2001" created a superbly
navigable Web site that informed New York City voters about 400 candidates
running in 70 races, the largest turnover in city history. "It did everything
I ever wanted to do in an election," said one of the editors on the judging
- Picture Projects' "360degrees.org-Perspectives on the US Criminal
Justice System" pioneered a new digital storytelling model that uses
dynamic data, panoramic photos and interactive audio of key stakeholders
in nonlinear story telling - "a journalistic pentimento," said the judges.
- The Herald of Everett, WA, built an online clickable map that
wooed more than 1,200 people to register their choices for redeveloping
the city's riverfront. The "Waterfront Renaissance" map "could
be used in any news coverage," the judges said. http://waterfront.heraldnet.com/develop2.cfm
To attend this year's Batten Awards and Symposium in Chapel Hill, check
the agenda or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's winners were selected from 87 entries. The Batten Awards
honor the late James K. Batten, former chief executive of the Knight Ridder
newspaper chain, who led some of the earliest civic journalism thinking.
The awards are funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, based
Semifinalists included: "Under One Roof," a weekly feature about black
family issues on BET.com and Black Entertainment Television's (BET) nightly
news show; the Lincoln Journal Star's "Medical Ethics," examining
such cutting-edge topics as fetal tissue research; "The Color of Justice,"
Minnesota Public Radio's series on racial disparities in the criminal
justice system; The News & Observer's "The New Segregation," exploring
the re-segregation of public schools; "The Big Deal: Illegal Drugs in
the Rochester Region," a Democrat and Chronicle series on the impact
of the war on drugs; "Workforce Housing: Hometown Crisis," the Marin
Independent Journal's examination of the local affordable housing
crisis; the Jackson Citizen Patriot's "Confronting Racism," a look
at how race impacts community life; and "Rethinking Philadelphia Schools,"
a multi-media project of the Philadelphia Daily News, Fox Philadelphia,
WHYY-FM and WDAS-AM.
Also: "Build Your Perfect School," a school reform series by The
Arizona Republic and KPNX TV; "Rural Idaho: Challenged to Change,"
a statewide media collaboration focused on the plight of rural residents;
"Noble Desire," coverage by two Norfolk stations, WHRO-TV (PBS) and WVBT-TV
(Fox), of race-relations conversations sparked by a reconciliation effort
in West Africa; "Home Front," a KQED-TV (PBS) documentary on gentrification
in the San Francisco area; "Finding Our Way: Living with Dying in America,"
a 15-part weekly series distributed by Knight Ridder News Service; and
"Defining Moments," the Chronicle-Tribune's solutions-oriented
follow-up to last year's Batten Award-winning series on the civic decline
in Marion, IN.
Semifinalists for bodies of work included Pacific News Service for its
multi-media initiatives to give voice to youth and ethnic communities,
and the Akron Beacon Journal for targeted public-involvement initiatives
dating back to 1993's Pulitzer Prize winning series on race, "A Question
ARE THE 2002 JAMES K. BATTEN AWARD CITATIONS
To the Savannah Morning News:
"For 'Vision 2010' - a phenomenal, solution-oriented endeavor that is
the epitome of what journalism is supposed to be: It put something in
place, the community ran with it, and the news organization got out of
the way. It demonstrated the importance of getting citizens involved.
Their collective wisdom made for a very robust project that, if replicated
in every community in the country, could change the outlook of everything
To The Cincinnati Enquirer
and the Cincinnati Media Collaborative:
"For 'Divided by Race' and 'Neighbor to Neighbor,' ambitious reporting
and outreach efforts that have involved an astonishing number of voices
in creating the conversations that should have been happening, but weren't."
To the Wisconsin State Journal and WISC-TV:
"For 'Schools of Hope,' an inspiring project of unusual intensity and
duration that demonstrated how engaging citizens in issues that defy easy
solutions can produce measurable results and community ownership of a
problem. It is one of the few times a community has narrowed the race
gap in academic achievement and helped all kids succeed. That's why we
To the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
"For a rich and creative body of work that replicated successful models
and kept improving on them. 'Safer Cities,' 'Across Generations,' 'Poverty
Among Us,' and the 'New Face of Minnesota' kept reinventing citizen entry
points and helped move civic journalism from the realm of controversy
to the domain of journalistic instinct."
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