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Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards

June 20, 2017

On June 15th, ArchCity Defenders presented the first annual “Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards” to recognize, honor, and inspire in depth stories written about race, class, and poverty.

Over 25 journalists and columnists from the St. Louis American, St. Louis Magazine, Delux Magazine, Riverfront Times, St. Louis Review, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and St. Louis Public Radio were represented by the nominees, honorable mentions, and awardees.

A panel of three judges, John Ammann (SLU Law Legal Clinic), Katherine Reed (MU School of Journalism), and Fred Watson (ArchCity Defenders’ client) reviewed nominations and selected finalists based on eligibility criteria.

Judges designated the following categories to recognize nominees, honorable mentions, and nominees: Small, Medium, and Large Media Markets, and Advocacy/Opinion.

Shadress Burks and Ashley Winters, won in the Small Media Market for their co-authored piece “Gentrification,” published in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Delux Magazine, which discusses the historical impact of racial segregation in the Old North neighborhood.  From the St. Louis American, awardee Rebecca Rivas won the Medium Media Market category for her piece, “Stadium Funding Would Cut into Underfunded Affordable Housing Trust Fund,” published in February of 2017.  Rebecca focused on how funding for a new soccer stadium would cut into the already depleted funding of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Nancy Cambria received our “Excellence in Poverty Journalism Award” in the Large Media Market category. Her article, “How Toxic Stress and Trauma Endanger Our Children,” was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in February 2016. Her article addressed the intergenerational impact that systemic poverty has had primarily on families of color in St Louis County. The awardee in the Advocacy/Opinion category was Tony Messenger for his tireless advocacy on behalf of the poor and the marginalized.  Day in and day out, Tony writes the complicated stories that don’t get enough attention: veterans struggling to deal with PTSD, moms struggling with poverty and raising kids, and political corruption at local, state, and federal levels.

We also wish to congratulate this year’s honorable mentions:  Doyle Murphy (RiverFront Times), Clark Randall (St. Louis American), and Jeremy Kohler (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

We are grateful for everyone who made this night possible- our panel of judges, staff and interns, supporters, and the writers themselves.

While disparity and inequity pervade our region, journalism has the power to expose injustice, raise awareness, and inspire action.  As a community, we need more stories to be written about poverty and the underlying systemic causes in order to impact change.

Thomas B. Harvey, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ArchCity Defenders

Communications Director, Z L. Gorley, with awardees Ashley Winters and Shadress Burks (Delux Magazine)

Awardee Rebecca Rivas (St. Louis American) and Z L. Gorley

Z L. Gorley and Awardee Nancy Cambria

Thomas B. Harvey and Awardee Tony Messenger (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
More photos of the “Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards” can be found on Facebook by clicking here.

Photo Credit: Chuck Ramsay


Media Contact:
Z. Gorley, Communications Director at ArchCity Defenders