Sarah Stillman Wins Top Award at the 2013 MOLLY National Journalism Prize Dinner


Honorable Mentions: Shane Bauer, Mother Jones Joseph Neff and David Raynor, The News & Observer, Raleigh, and Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch, The Charlotte Observer

The MOLLY Prize recognizes great American journalism and honors the memory of Molly Ivins, the legendary reporter, columnist and former editor of The Texas Observer. The 2013 MOLLY National Journalism Prize has been presented to Sarah Stillman of The New Yorker for her article “The Throwaways,” which addresses the use and abuse of juvenile drug offenders as confidential informants by law enforcement officers. The awards ceremony in Austin, Texas, featured seven-time Emmy Award-winning ABC News broadcaster John Quiñones and Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Connie Schultz.

Honorable Mention awards were presented to Shane Bauer for “No Way Out,” an exploration of the extensive and expensive use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons published in Mother Jones; and to the reporting team of Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch of The Charlotte Observer, and Joseph Neff and David Raynor of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., for their joint project, “Prognosis: Profits,” a series about the billing practices, profits of nonprofit hospitals in North Carolina.

The awards are presented annually by The Texas Observer, the nonprofit magazine that has covered Texas politics, government, arts and culture for 58 years.


Sarah Stillman, who won honorable mention in the 2012 MOLLY competition, is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Her recent work has received a number of national and international awards, including the National Magazine Award. Her coverage of America’s wars overseas and the challenges facing soldiers at home has appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation,,, and She taught a seminar on the Iraq war at Yale and ran a creative-writing workshop for four years at Cheshire Correctional Institute, a maximum-security men’s prison in Connecticut. She is currently reporting on immigration and criminal justice issues.

Shane BauerShane Bauer is an award-winning investigative journalist and photographer based in Oakland, California. A fluent speaker of Arabic, he has reported extensively on the Middle East and North Africa. From 2009–2011 Bauer was held hostage in Iran with his now-wife Sarah Shourd and friend Josh Fattal, with whom he is currently writing a memoir. Seven months after his release from Iranian prison, he went back behind the wire to investigate solitary confinement in California. His articles have appeared in Mother Jones, The Nation,, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications.

Ames AlexanderAmes Alexander, an investigative reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1993, has examined the mistreatment of injured poultry workers, dangerous trends in airline maintenance, lives endangered by ambulance service and many other subjects. His stories have won national honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Robert F. Kennedy Center and more.


karen garlochKaren Garloch, The Charlotte Observer’s medical writer, has written about hospitals and health care in North Carolina since 1987. She worked on the 2010 series that found many North Carolina infants whose deaths were attributed to SIDS had slept in unsafe settings and possibly suffocated. She has also written award-winning serial narratives.


Joseph NeffJoseph Neff, has been an investigative reporter at The News & Observer, Raleigh, since 1992. He was part of a team that revealed broad misconduct in the State Bureau of Investigation in 2010, work that led to significant change and won the Michael Kelly Award. Neff also exposed the misconduct of former District Attorney Mike Nifong in the Duke lacrosse case.


David RaynorDavid Raynor, 42, is the news research database editor for The News & Observer, Raleigh. Raynor works with reporters in acquiring, maintaining and analyzing data. He has worked on several award-winning projects, including “Washed Away,” last year’s series on North Carolina’s failing program to restore polluted streams.


The 2013 MOLLY Prize Dinner
The MOLLY prizes were presented at a June 6 dinner in Austin, Texas, that featured seven-time Emmy Award-winning ABC News broadcaster John Quiñones as the keynote speaker. Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Connie Schultz was the emcee, and Lyndon and Kay Olson were Honorary Chairs of the event. Susan Longley of Austin, president of The Longley Group and of The Texas Democracy Foundation, which publishes The Texas Observer, received The Bernard Rapoport Philanthropy Award. Janis Pinnelli and Melissa Jones served as event Co-Chairs.

Prize presentations were made by editors and reporters from The Texas Observer. The MOLLY Board of Advisors, composed of prominent journalists and scholars, reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

The MOLLY National Journalism Prize, including a $5,000 cash award, was established by The Texas Observer to recognize print or online journalism of exceptional merit that focuses on civil liberties and social justice, and embodies the intelligence, deep thinking and passionate wit that marked the work of the late Molly Ivins. The honorable mention prizes include $1,000 cash awards.

Our Generous Sponsors

The Texas Observer is grateful to everyone who attended the dinner and contributed to a memorable evening. We are particularly thankful for our generous sponsors, including:

Bill & Diana Hobby
Melissa Jones
Lisa Blue Baron
Susan Longley
Lyndon & Kay Olson
Randy Parten
The Rapoport Family
Alec Rhodes
Carol Barger / Aimee Boone & Ed Cunningham
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, Dr. Don Carleton
Renee & Russ Graham
Charlotte Herzele
Joan & Jeff Lava / Nona Niland
Janis & Joe Pinnelli
Chula Reynolds, in memory of Mary Margaret Farabee
Nelson Roach
Pat & Bud Smothers
Suzanne & Marc Winkelman / MFI Foundation
American Journalism Historians Association, Patrick Cox
Susan Crews Bailey / Beverly Fondren & John Scott
Becky Beaver & John Duncan
Susan Blount / Larry Norwood
Carlton Carl
Lois Chiles, Lois Chiles Foundation
Ray Farabee / Karen & Steve Farabee
Clare R. Hudspeth / Sara Speights
Bill Ikard / Anne Wynne, Ikard Wynne LLP
Libby & Dale Linebarger
Jim Marston & Annette LoVoi / Alfred Stanley & Kathleen Guido
Conrad Martin, Stewart R. Mott Foundation
Barbara Morgan & Jerry Galow
Susan Morris & Richard Donnelly
Trilla & Bob Pando / Mary Nell & Phil Mathis
Debbie & Jim Parish
Donna & George Shipley
Sunny & Shelton Smith
Genevieve Van Cleve & Peter Ravella
For all of their hard work, we thank the MOLLY Board of Advisors:
Hugh Aynesworth, Maurine H. Beasley, Tom Bettag, Mike Blackman, Nate Blakeslee, Frederick Blevens, Roy Blount, Jr., Mary Breasted, Robert Bryce, Ken Bunting, Wanda Cash, Carlton Carl, Mike Cochran, Gail Collins, Patrick Cox, Greg Curtis, Lou Dubose, Ronnie Dugger, Margaret Engel, James Fallows, Doug Foster, Ellen Goodman, Wade Goodwyn, Patti Kilday Hart, Jim Henderson, Steven Isenberg, Melissa Jones, Lewis Lapham, Myra MacPherson, David McHam, Dave McNeely, Kevin Merida, Judith Davidson Moyers, Victor Navasky, Kaye Northcott, Larry Norwood, Karen Olsson, John Pope, Dan Rather, Geoff Rips, Matt Rothschild, Ben Sargent, Connie Schultz, Robert Siegel, Erna Smith, Glenn Smith, Paul Stekler, Carlton Stowers, Diane Suchetka, Ellen Sweets, Mimi Swartz, Saralee Tiede, Rusty Todd, Calvin Trillin, Jim Willse and John Young.

Additionally, we thank the MOLLY Award Steering Committee:

Melissa Jones & Janis Pinnelli, Co-Chairs; Susan Crews Bailey, Jayne Barrett, Becky Beaver, Susan Blount, Carlton Carl, Jan Demetri, Karen Farabee, Carol Flake, Beverly Fondren, Charlotte Herzele, Clare Hudspeth, Mary Barminski Johnson, Tiffany Johns, Mary Jo Kennard, Joan Lava, Charlotte McCann, Barbara Morgan, Susan Morris, Nona Niland, Larry Norwood, Susan Smith Richardson, Margie Rine, Geoff Rips, Nancy Scanlan, Sunny Smith, Sarah Speights, Ellen Sweets, Margot Thomas, Genevieve Van Cleve, Caryl Yontz.

And finally we thank the Board of Directors for all their efforts:

Susan Longley, President; Lisa Blue Baron, Carlton Carl, Jennifer Cooper, Melissa Jones, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Ronald Rapoport, Peter Ravella, Susan Smith Richardson, Geoff Rips, Ronnie Dugger.

All proceeds go to support The Texas Observer’s investigative journalism and The MOLLY National Journalism Prize. If you were unable to attend the dinner and would like to donate, please click here.