Informer Writers Among Journalism Honorees

WI Staff Report | 2/23/2011, 8:36 p.m.
An African-American weekly, a Jewish monthly magazine, and a Muslim biweekly publication were among the...
Shantella Y. Sherman (left) / Photo by Jacques A. Benovil and Norma Porter / Courtesy photo  

An African-American weekly, a Jewish monthly magazine, and a Muslim biweekly publication were among the big win-ners of the second Washington, D.C. Ethnic Media Awards. The winners were announced at a ceremony on Tuesday night at the University of California, Washington Center.

The Washington Informer walked away with three awards for news excellence, in the categories: Best Local News and Best Feature Writing.

The judging panel was made up of award-winning journalists, advocates and academics, including Chuck Lewis of the American University School of Communication, Maria Puente of USA Today, Louisa Fahy of Bloomberg News and Ed-ward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The event, sponsored by New America Media (NAM) and the American University School of Communication, honored the excellence of ethnic media reporting in print, online and broadcast formats, and highlighted that media sector's crucial role of informing the immigrant and minority communities they serve.

About 200 people attended the ceremony.

"This award is a particular honor for me as the managing editor of the Informer because it evidences a collective goal to provide a voice for the voiceless and the dispossessed, while maintaining exemplary standards in quality and integrity," Shantella Sherman, winner of the Best Feature Writing award said.

"These awards are due in large part to the dedication of our content editor, Denise W. Barnes and I thank her immensely."

Sherman won for the feature "Soledad O'Brien Talks Race with the Washington Informer", and shared first place honors with Neil Rubin of the Baltimore Jewish American, for his piece, "In the Lord's Time".

Education writer, Norma Porter, took home first place honors in the Best Local News category for her piece "Hardy Students Demand Principal's Return"; and the Washington Informer newspaper received a special honor for its partner-ship with CNN for its "Black in America" special.

"The idea for the partnership with CNN was conceive during an interview with Shantella and Soledad and all sides agreed it was a necessary partnership because CNN was mainstream and they were talking about Black Americans. Subsequently, there was definite value in partnering with an African-American community newspaper. We hope to con-tinue that partnership well into the future," Burke said.

More than 100 entries were received in nine languages, including Farsi, Vietnamese, Amharic, Korean, Nepali and Urdu.

Winners were selected in nine categories: local news, immigration, editorial /commentary, arts, sports and entertain-ment, photojournalism, investigative reporting, broadcast and international affairs. Most of the winning stories tackled issues that have been ignored or underreported in major national and international news outlets.

"The reality is that the ethnic media play a vital role in our society by bringing news and information to demographics that want more than what is delivered by the major media outlets," said Alexandra Moe, NAM's Washington, D.C. director. "NAM and the American University School of Communication are honoring the tremendous contribution, often made on a barebones budget, that ethnic media offer."

A career achievement award was given to Hazel Trice Edney, editor-in-chief of Trice Edney News Wire, while the Nepali Post, Pakistan Post and Vietnamese newspaper Pho Nho received special community awards. WI

Shantella Y. Sherman / Photo by Jacques A. Benovil
Norma Porter / Courtesy photo