HFG Journalism Fellowships and Awards

SAN FRANCISCO – SEPTEMBER 20: Freshly printed copies of the San Francisco Chronicle roll off the printing press at one of the Chronicle’s printing facilities September 20, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Newspaper sales in the U.S. continue to slide as people turn to the internet and television for their news. The Chronicle saw its circulation plunge more than 15 percent in 2006 to 398,000 during the week which has hurt newspaper vendor Rick Gaub’s business. Unable to sell as many papers as he used to, Gaub is looking for a new way to earn money after selling papers for 42 years. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As a research organization dedicated to understanding violence in all forms, the Foundation recognizes the importance of accurate, in-depth reporting on crime and violence.

The Foundation supports the work of journalists through its annual journalism fellowships and awards for excellence in reporting administered by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Crime Report.

HFG Justice Reporting Fellows at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Each year, the Foundation awards 20-30 fellowships to reporters, broadcasters, editors, and writers covering crime and violence in the U.S. so they can attend the annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America.

Fellows participating in the two-day winter symposium have an opportunity to speak with leading national and state criminal justice researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to better understand the dynamics of crime, violence, and the U.S. justice system. 

Fellows are selected by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice based in part on their work in progress or proposed projects that will benefit from participation in the symposium.

HFG Awards for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting at John Jay College

Each year the Foundation honors a reporter or team of reporters who have made an extraordinary contribution to public awareness of crime and justice issues. The prizes for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting, administered by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice, recognize the previous year’s best print, online, or broadcast justice reporting by a U.S.-based media outlet.

The prizes are the only national awards that exclusively recognize work on crime and justice topics. Judging criteria include the work’s impact on public policy at the local or national level. Prizes are awarded to winners and runners-up for a single story and for a series at the annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America. 

In 2021, the reporting staff of ProPublica won in the series category for “The NYPD Files,” an investigation that documented how infrequently allegations about excessive use of force by the New York Police Department resulted in serious discipline. The award went to ProPublica reporters Eric Umansky, Joaquin Sapien, Topher Sanders, Mollie Simon, Moiz Syed, Derek Willis, Lena Groeger, Adriana Gallardo, Joshua Kaplan, and Lucas Waldron.

Mississippi Today reporters Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu, working in partnership with The Marshall Project, won the single-story award for “Think Debtors Prisons Are a Thing of the Past? Not in Mississippi.” The story revealed that Mississippi’s four so-called restitution centers effectively serve as debtors’ prisons, with some individuals confined for as long as five years while they work at low-wage, and sometimes dangerous, jobs.

The runner-up for best series went to Tony Plohetski of the Austin American-Statesman for his multimedia series on the collaboration of a Texas sheriff’s office with a reality TV show that led to violent and aggressive tactics. The runner-up for best story went to Washington Post reporter Hannah Dreier 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. 

For information on HFG Justice Reporting Fellowships or HFG Awards for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting, contact Stephen Handelman, Director of the John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice.

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