‘N.Y. Times’ 9/11 Reporting, ‘Times-Pic’ Katrina Coverage Named in Top Journalism of Decade List

By: E&P Staff

The New York Times’ coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks heads the list of “The Top 10 Works of Journalism of the Decade in the United States,” released Monday by New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

The Times is also honored for its coverage of Afghanistan. Other newspaper work included in the list is The Times-Picayune’s coverage of hurricane Katrina, The Washington Post’s investigation of conditions at Walter Reed Medical Center and The Boston Globe’s reporting on the cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The list is a follow-up to the school’s list of the top 100 works of U.S. journalism in the 20th century. The same judges who compiled that list chose the decade’s top 10 works from 80 nominated pieces.

“Our purpose was to call attention to and honor work of exceptional importance and quality — journalism that brilliantly met the challenges of this difficult decade,” Professor Mitchell Stephens said.

Here is the list, with the judges’ comments:

1. The staff of The New York Times
“A Nation Challenged,” Fall 2001

A special section published regularly after the September 11 attacks provided extraordinarily detailed and searching local, national and international reporting on the attacks and their consequences, along with moving profiles of a large number of the victims.

2. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, 2003

A model of immersion reporting and narrative storytelling, this deeply empathic, deeply disturbing portrait of life among the underclass challenges the received notions of poverty theorists and ordinary readers on the left and the right alike.

3. Lawrence Wright
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, 2006

This book, which won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, is a beautifully written and rigorously reported account of the events and ideas that led to the attacks of September 11.

4. Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson
This American Life & NPR: “The Giant Pool of Money,” May 2008

This hour-long radio documentary finally made the “subprime” mortgage crisis clear and cogent, and the result was the most downloaded episode in the history of the show.

5. C.J. Chivers (reporter), Dexter Filkins (reporter) and Tyler Hicks (photographer)
The New York Times, 2003-2009

Ongoing reporting from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. These journalists provide honest, detailed and evocative accounts of soldiers and marines on the battlefields of the war, often while putting themselves in harm’s way.

6. Jane Mayer
The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, 2008

A thorough and damning investigation, based on her New Yorker articles, of the Bush administration’s more questionable tactics in the war on terror.

7. Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, 2001.

Widely discussed undercover reporting on the difficulty of making ends meet with minimum-wage jobs in America.

8. The Times-Picayune staff, New Orleans, La.
Coverage of Hurricane Katrina, August-December 2005

This extensive series of articles and editorials, produced under the most difficult of circumstances, won the newspaper a share, along with the Sun Herald, Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss., of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

9. Anne Hull, Dana Priest (reporters) and Michel du Cille (photographer)
“Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army’s Top Medical Facility,” February 2007, The Washington Post

This two-part, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of abuses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center exposed the substandard treatment soldiers received at this Washington, D.C., hospital and led to firings, resignations, government investigations and efforts to better care for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

10. Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carroll, Stephen Kurkjian, Tom Farragher, Michael Paulson, Kevin Cullen, Ben Bradlee Jr., Mark Morrow
Abuse in the Catholic Church,” The Boston Globe, 2002

This Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles about decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Boston Catholic archdiocese reverberated to Rome and beyond.

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