Campus & Community

Nieman Foundation administers first Taylor Award

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Bill Taylor, Bob Giles and Les
At the Faculty Club, Bill Taylor (left), former publisher of the Boston Globe, and Bob Giles (right), curator of the Nieman Foundation, talk with Taylor Award-winner Les Gura of the Hartford Courant. (Staff photo by Jon Chase)

An article by Les Gura of the Hartford Courant about an instructor at Yale University who became the focus of stories that unfairly cast him as a murder suspect, is the inaugural winner of the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. The award, endowed by the former publisher of The Boston Globe and the Taylor family, and administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, carries a $10,000 prize.

Gura’s story examined how the news media covered the story and how the community reacted to that coverage. His article exemplified what the judges described as raising reader awareness “in a way that was fair to the suspect and to the system of justice.”

The Taylor Award judges also recognized three finalists:

The Baltimore Sun for a story explaining the police and judicial process that resulted in a jury acquittal of a Baltimore teenager accused of killing a police officer. The case had been considered an open-and-shut case of “cop killing” and the jury verdict produced community outrage.

The Chicago Tribune for a series examining how Chicago police obtained false confessions from young African-American men with criminal records.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune for a series that looked closely at New Orleans’ affirmative action programs and discovered that many well-connected minority-owned firms benefited from the program, while others with greater needs did not.

The winner and finalists were recognized at a dinner and panel discussion April 25 at the Faculty Club.

The Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family, which published The Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999. The purpose of the award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers.

William O. Taylor, chairman emeritus of the Globe, embraced the idea of an award for fairness in newspapers as a way to give something back to the craft in which five generations of his family devoted their working lives. At his invitation the Nieman Foundation agreed to administer the prize.

Nominations for the Taylor Fairness Award were submitted by a panel of nominators.

The judges for the Taylor Fairness Award follow: Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and former Nieman curator; Bob Haiman, president emeritus of the Poynter Institute, and Freedom Forum Fellow, the Freedom Forum; Michael Getler, ombudsman for The Washington Post; and Martha Minow, a professor at Harvard Law School who is on the faculty at the Center for Ethics and the Professions. Current Nieman curator Bob Giles chaired the jury.