A report by The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, that uncovered Vietnam-era war crimes kept secret for three and a half decades, has received the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. Given for work published in daily newspapers in 2003, the award carries a $10,000 prize. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the program.
The lead reporters of the winning project were Michael D. Sallah, Mitch Weiss, and Joe Mahr. Andy Morrison was the principal photographer. The investigation was initiated when reporters obtained 22 classified Army documents detailing one unit’s atrocities.
“They recognized this was not just all about evil over there. The reporters went to lengths to keep perspective and balance while doing the hard reporting,” the award jury said. “They talked to everybody. They put it into historic perspective and explored the issues. Why do some soldiers do this and some don’t? They handled a very sensitive subject with great depth and context.”
The jury panel, which included last year’s winner Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, and Nieman Foundation curator and jury chair Bob Giles, among others, also recognized The Wall Street Journal and the Des Moines Register as finalists.
Members of the Taylor family, which published the Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999, established the Taylor Family Award through gifts for an endowment. 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. At his invitation, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism agreed to administer the prize.
The winner and finalists will be recognized at a dinner and panel discussion on April 8 at the Walter Lippmann House.