HFG Symposium on Crime in America


The Foundation sponsors an annual two-day symposium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The event brings together leading researchers and policymakers with journalists to deepen public understanding of the most relevant crime and violence issues in the United States.

In 2021, the symposium examined crime and justice policy in the Biden era, with experts discussing what changes might be enacted by the new administration and how public officials and law enforcement are responding to calls to end police brutality and “defund the police.”

Each year, the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay selects 20-30 Harry Frank Guggenheim Journalism Fellows to attend the symposium. Working reporters, producers, editors, and correspondents come together with leading national and state criminal justice researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in an intimate environment to better understand the dynamics of crime and violence. 

The symposium also hosts the annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Awards for Excellence in Criminal Justice Journalism. The prizes, administered by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice, recognize the previous year’s best print and online justice reporting by a U.S.-based media outlet. Winners are chosen for the best series and best single story. 

The 2021 awards went to the staff of ProPublica for a series on infrequent disciplinary actions for alleged use of excessive force by the New York Police Department and to Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu of Mississippi Today, working in partnership with The Marshall Project, for a story about de facto debtors prisons in Mississippi. 

Runners-up were Tony Plohetski, of the Austin American-Statesman, for a series on the collaboration of a Texas sheriff’s office with a reality TV show that allegedly led to violent tactics, and Hannah Dreier, of the Washington Post, for her story on how therapy sessions with undocumented migrant children were shared with U.S. immigration authorities for possible use in court proceedings against them. 

Information on the 2022 awards can be found at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice.

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