Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism Announces the 2013 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award Winner

By: Press Release | Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

New York, NY (May 17, 2013) — Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism today announced that ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones is the winner of the 2013 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award for her 13-part web series, “Living Apart: Fair Housing in America,” in which Hannah-Jones details the federal government’s failure to enforce the Fair Housing Act, which is intended to remove barriers for blacks and Latinos in affluent neighborhoods.

The Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award is given for distinguished reporting on racial or religious hatred, intolerance or discrimination in the United States. Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School, will present the citation and a $2,000 honorarium to Jones on Tuesday, May 21st, during the school’s annual Journalism Day celebration.

The Tobenkin Award jury said the ProPublica web series by Hannah-Jones dealt head-on with the issue of fair housing and its failure. It was created “with historical context, nuance and powerful storytelling. The series focuses on the failure to enforce these laws in Westchester County, New York, where opposition from whites has led to the concentration of black and brown families on the far side of Interstate 87. ”

The jury was also strong in its praise for the work of Jeff Larson, who created detailed interactive national maps which “detail how the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s failure to enforce the law resulted in concentrations of segregation.”  

Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative reporter at ProPublica in New York City. She covers discrimination and waste in federal programs. Prior to joining ProPublica, she reported for the largest daily newspaper in the Pacific Northwest, The (Portland) Oregonian. She covered numerous beats at The Oregonian including demographics, the census and county government. In 2012, Hannah-Jones won the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism during the National Association of Black Journalists convention for her series on gentrification in Portland. She has a Master of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The jury members for this year’s Tobenkin Award are Professors June Cross, Elena Cabral and Barbara Kantrowitz.

About the Tobenkin Award
The Tobenkin Award was established at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 1959—during the heart of the civil rights movement—to honor Paul Tobenkin, The New York Herald Tribune reporter’s work and recognize outstanding achievements in reporting on racial or religious hatred, intolerance or discrimination in the United States.

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