St. Louis — On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit civil rights law firm presented its third annual ‘Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards’ to recognize and honor in-depth reporting on race, class, and poverty, and to inspire more coverage on topics impacting families throughout the St. Louis region.
Mike Jones, Lisa Hoppenjans and Mariah Stewart judged the 2019 list of nominations, which reflected reporting from the St. Louis American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, KMOV, and the Riverfront Times. Judges designated Opinion, Shorts, and Features categories and distinguished between Digital/Print and Audio/Visual awardees. Below includes a list of winners and honorable mentions:
Winner: Tony Messenger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jailed for Being too Poor is a Missouri Epidemic
Honorable Mention: Ashley Lisenby, St. Louis Public Radio: ‘I’ve been Waiting for a Long Time’: More than 7,000 People Await Section 8 in St. Clair County
Winner: Ryan Delaney, St. Louis Public Radio: Getting To School Is A Long And Winding Road For A Homeless Student Like Angelina
Winner: Ashley Winters, The Northsider: Freed from Jail, Trapped by Monitoring Fee
Winners: We Live Here Podcast (Kameel Stanley and Tim Lloyd), St. Louis Public Radio: Paved over Histories
Honorable Mention: Jesse Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Residents of Rundown St. Louis Area Apartment Complex Trapped by Poverty, Indifference
Winner: Doyle Murphy, Riverfront Times: After an East St. Louis Homeless Camp is Evicted, the Houseless Seek a Home of Their Own
Data suggests that newsroom employees are at a record low decline and that despite its prevalence, news coverage on poverty is rare. When stories are written about poverty, criminality, and family stability, poor people and people of color are frequently misrepresented and distorted. These issues provide the impetus for ArchCity Defenders to hold the annual ‘Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards’ in part to inspire more thorough coverage, and to counter the bias and stereotypes which misguide public opinion.
The Awards were held at Anew Rooftop, hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, and sponsored by Forward Through Ferguson, Deaconess Foundation, Places for People, Real Local Control and Effective Civilian Review (CAPCR), Green Thumb Industries, and Sterling Bank.