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 2023 award for best series went to “Broken Doors,” a six-part, investigative podcast from the Washington Post hosted by Jenn Abelson and Nicole Dungca. The series examined the deployment of no-knock warrants in the American criminal legal system and explored the ramifications of flawed accountability at every level. 

The award for the single-story category went to “The Mother Trap” and the companion video by Mother Jones magazine, reported and written by Samantha Michaels. 

Detailed information on the award-winning work and a listing of those named runner-ups in the single and series categories can be found here.

Past Awards: 

The 2022 award for best series went to Jim Mustian and Jake Bleiberg of the Associated Press for their series, “Beatings, Buried Videos and Cover-Ups at the Louisiana State Police,” which revealed a pattern of violence against mostly Black motorists.  

The award for best single story went to Meribah Knight of Nashville Public Radio and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica for “Black Children Jailed for a Crime that Doesn’t Exist,” an examination of a wayward juvenile justice system in Tennessee’s Rutherford County.

The 2022 runner-up award for a series went to public radio station KQED in San Francisco for “On Our Watch,” a podcast series investigating police misconduct and excessive use of force in California. 

Simone Weichselbaum and Sachi McClendon of The Marshall Project, and Uriel Garcia of the Arizona Republic were recognized as runners up in the single-story category for their article “U.S. Marshals Act Like Local Police With More Violence and Less Accountability.”

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.

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. 

Welcome to the website of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Sign up here for Foundation news and updates on our programs and research.