A meticulous exposé of how industry-sponsored research, lobbying and advertising by infant formula companies have led to a federal government subsidized market for infant formula, despite global consensus on the superior health benefits of breast milk. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program distributes more than half the infant formula sold in the U.S. but the supply provided to new moms is not enough to feed their babies for a full month. As a result, impoverished mothers bear the burden of high out-of-pocket monthly expenses to feed their growing babies. Judges praised this investigation by Women’s eNews as being “in the best tradition of accountability reporting.”
A tip led reporter Michael LaForgia to a far bigger story -- about systemic failures in Florida to protect children who attend summer camps. During months of reporting, he discovered that anyone -- even a convicted child molester -- could run a summer camp in the state of Florida. And they were. After building his own database of cobbled-together records, LaForgia found a camp operator who had been convicted of molesting a 6-year-old girl. He also found a con man and a crack dealer among those trusted to watch over children. His work led lawmakers to close the loophole that enabled these people to operate camps.
What distinguishes this story of recovery is the merciful lack of a tidy ending. Joan Garrett’s intimate portrait of an addict struggling to reclaim some of the life she discarded doesn’t flinch from the pain of her subject or the obstacles she still faces, and it leaves the last word to the person most affected – the subject’s young son.
A heartbreaking tale of repeated failures, poverty and an untimely death, told with sensitivity and suspense. Evans sorts through the bureaucratic maze of the taxpayer-funded agencies that are supposed to help children – but sometimes end up doing more harm than good. The story does a masterful job of revealing how individual actions, including those any of us could imagine taking, can have tragic, unintended consequences. Even Jeremiah’s guardians failed to push the limits of the child welfare system, a lapse which haunts them today. The story prompted the Indianapolis police to establish new policies and devote more attention to potential threats within the child protection system.
This eloquently written piece brought attention to a story that is rarely covered by the mainstream media: the treatment of refugees in America. It breaks through longstanding stereotypes to portray two grief-stricken parents as individuals with a tangible history, while also highlighting the abuses and frustrations faced by other families like them. Lyon traveled to Thailand and Iowa, facing language barriers, bureaucratic roadblocks and a lack of contacts in order to report on the story. Her energetic and determined reporting is inspirational.
In Charleston, S.C., 1 in 7 adults is functionally illiterate. As children, many of these individuals passed with ease through the city’s public schools. Courrégé explored the consequences of this system through the story of one child, 17-year-old Ridge Smith. Her story produced results – a literacy campaign that hopefully will spare other children Smith’s fate.
Goetz’s remarkable commitment to tell 16-year-old Cherry’s story enables readers to connect with and invest in the future of a young woman whose obstacles are unfortunately anything but unique. The vivid photographs offer a poignant glimpse into the cycle of poverty, crime and hopelessness that grips so many Memphis residents.
“Mental illness is an insidious form of identity theft, erasing one future and replacing it with another,” writes Smith in this powerful tale that brings home the nightmare of families who try to navigate one state’s broken mental health care system. The writing is original, compelling and clear. The story deftly moves from a wrenching narrative of a mother grieving for her tormented son, to a news peg of a recent shooting spree, to explanatory reporting on overtaxed state resources.
What at first seems like a harmless sore throat slowly takes a 16-year-old girl to the brink of death. Doherty’s poignant account of her daughter’s mysterious illness reads like a detective story, as doctors narrow down the possible suspects to one potential killer: Lemierre’s syndrome. The piece raises awareness of the rare and little known disease, which is a consequence of trying to limit the use of antibiotics.
This unflinching story takes us into the harrowing world of the mother of an autistic teenager, conveying both the maddening frustrations and the unconditional love. Autism is estimated to affect 1 in 150 children under the age of 21. As autistic children become autistic teens, this story spotlights the dilemma facing their families: What will become of adult children who cannot care for themselves?
An intimate portrait of a family's efforts to forgive in order to stay intact. Rowe mined the paradoxes inherent in the tale: the struggle to forgive one son while mourning the son he accidentally killed, that a home meant to be a haven from danger became its opposite, and that a family so profoundly close was quickly falling apart.
A complex and poignant profile of a girl aging out of foster care.
This piece won the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story under 75,000 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
With ongoing debates over the definition of family, Brown and Hamilton offer timely and rare insights into same-sex relationships forged out of painful experiences instead of biological orientation. Thorough reporting addresses controversy head on, drawing out their sometimes wary sources and weaving in expert opinion. Their beautiful writing makes this a fully compelling read.
This piece won the Single Story under 75,000 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
The reporter sensitively conveys a young woman's heavy burdens in interpreting U.S. culture and the English language for her Laotian parents. Through her attentive, even-handed reporting, O'Malley gained the confidence of the family and of the immigrant community; her story buttresses their appeal for more official interpreters. The piece exemplifies the paper’s commitment to covering quiet but important cultural changes.
This piece was the runner-up in the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story under 75,000 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
Eloquent, empathetic writing characterizes this fresh look at a family’s struggles with poverty amid plenty.
This piece was the runner-up in the Single Story under 75,000 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
The piece raises disturbing questions about the deaths of three newborns and Highland Hospital's rush to expand its obstetrics program; it also sheds light on the harsh economic realities that drive health care decisions and how these affect communities.
This piece was an honorable mention in the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story under 75,000 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
This smart, important piece explores the cycle of violence while paying attention to social policy choices, such as budget cutbacks and misplaced spending priorities.
This piece was an honorable mention in the Single Story under 75,000 category, which has since been merged with the Single Story 75,000-199,999 category to form the Single Story under 200,000 circulation category.
In this provocative story, reporter Hawryluk thoroughly explores the ethical quandaries that ensnare families struggling to cope with profoundly disabled children.
A shining example of how a tenacious reporter can make a significant difference in her community and her state. Upshaw recognized a good story when she started working on a standard follow-up to a brief about a girl's death. Through dogged reporting she ultimately discovered that problems at a youth services center most likely contributed to the neglect of Keisha Brown, who died after complaining of health problems. Impressive impact on the state legislature and agencies.
The ups and downs of becoming a “parent” for the second time come through loud and clear in this story. There is a lot here: The story gets deeply into the life of the main character and thoroughly documents the scope of the phenomenon of grandparents raising kids, and offers resources for those who want help. And the writer lets grandma Bonnie Wozniak show readers what it’s like raising two young girls in a Britney Spears culture.
Rowe took a subject prone to compassion fatigue -- the problems faced by overburdened child protection workers -- and crafted a highly readable story. The story finds its power through specific, detailed, complicated family cases that illustrate the difficult decisions that social workers have to make.
This well-crafted and well-reported story of a 14-year-old girl facing kidney failure shows how to elevate the subject beyond the sob-story genre.
This is a strong narrative showing readers what it's like to be a single mom trying to keep her nine kids despite a history of drug addiction, reminiscent of Leon Dash's monumental series on Rosa Lee Cunningham.
A deft combination of both reporting and writing. The reporter didn’t just tell readers why the college-bound program is worthwhile, she showed them.
Nolan and Riede use a variety of techniques to illustrate how school officials understated a serious dropout problem through sloppy and devious record-keeping. What was perhaps most impressive was the reporters' ability to get confidential records, which allowed them to put a face on the kids who drop out.
Demer had heard rumors about Alaskan children being sent to psychiatric hospitals outside the state and after investigating further, she found that the numbers of those sent away -- and the cost of their care -- had risen dramatically over a short period of time. She weaves solid documentary reporting with compelling personal accounts to create a story with statewide importance.
Through dogged reporting, the authors reveal how officials at juvenile justice centers in Florida tried to fill hiring gaps by rehiring former employees already fired for incompetence or, worse, violent behavior.
Eaton uses computer-assisted reporting and candid interviews to question the effectiveness of one county's prosecution of sexual offenders who prey on children.
Griffy shows how secrecy prevented a full review of serious problems with Ohio's group homes for the developmentally disabled.
Stickney profiles Grand Junction’s homeless children – a group rarely in public view – without stigmatizing them. Though the topic is familiar, this article goes beyond statistics with compelling details: the 11-year-old girl doing homework in her mother’s car; a teenage boy sharing a cramped motel room with his mother, two sisters and a kitten; and a family’s steady diet of hot dogs and ramen noodles in a motel kitchen that lacks a stove or refrigerator.
Chapman investigates why an institution run by Florida’s Department of Children and Families had treated an emotionally disturbed 6-year-old as a “psychotic adult.” She examines the hospital’s use of full-body restraints, psychotropic drugs and a quiet room for Isaiah White’s discipline. The harrowing and utterly absorbing account of his barbaric treatment poses hard questions but provides no easy answers.
Rosetta brings great empathy to the stories of children of incarcerated parents and examines community programs designed to help them.
A vividly drawn story of the unseen victims of urban renewal, told through a family that faces losing its home – a room in a rundown motel – to city redevelopment plans. Honorable mentions: Mary Ellen Flannery, The Palm Beach Post, Florida, “One Year Inside an F School.” Flannery examines the unique challenges facing teachers and students in a low-performing school in one poor community.
Feibel spent three months following mothers with mental illness to write a textured story about how their problems affect their families.
Callea reveals that millions in state school-readiness funds are being funneled to unlicensed or unsafe child-care centers.
Gamino chronicles the hard choices of Corey and Millicent Bell, quintessential black urban professionals caught in a quandary: Do they do the right thing and adopt Corey’s eight younger siblings after his parents’ early deaths? Or do they let this family splinter in the manner that prompts so many wrenching stories in today’s news pages? Gamino has a fine eye for detail, a keen ear for the telling quote and a skilled pen for sketching the emotional scene.
With an eye for detail, an ear for dialogue and a writing style powerful in its directness, Frankel chronicled a child-cancer story that was compelling because the characters were so human and the medical outcome so uncertain. He obtained exceptional access and brought readers into the central family drama — the death of a child.
The story of the Radfords, a disabled couple seeking to become parents, sparkles with rich detail of ordinary family routines. Newspapers tend to cover disabled people’s lives in shallow and predictable ways. This story portrays them as regular people who live with limitations.
This in-depth piece on Asperger's Syndrome must have had readers saying “aha!” as they recognized the symptoms in someone they know. This fairly new diagnosis — related to autism — causes parents heartache and confusion. Fitzgerald's writing was clear, and he was successful in coaxing families and sufferers to talk candidly and dispassionately about an unusual condition.
The reporters and the newspaper perform a valuable public service by analyzing crash and traffic data to detail those elements that make the mundane and ubiquitous ritual of teenage driving so deadly.