Dave Philipps Wins Top Award at the 2014 MOLLY National Journalism Prize Dinner


The 2014 MOLLY National Journalism Prize was presented on Tuesday night to Dave Philipps for a series of stories in The Gazette (Colorado Springs) documenting how the U.S. military abuses its wounded warriors.

One of the MOLLY Prize judges called “Other than Honorable: Disposable; Left Behind; and Locked Away” (May 19-21, 2013) a “stupendous effort from a paper this size.” 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 awards were presented at a gala dinner at Austin’s Four Seasons hotel.

Honorable Mention awards were presented to: Haley Sweetland EdwardsThe Washington Monthly, for “He Who Makes The Rules (March/April 2013), a revealing exploration of the workings and power of the rule-making process; and Michael M. Phillips, a two-time MOLLY Prize finalist, of The Wall Street Journal for “The Lobotomy Files” (December 12-15, 2013), an investigation of how what we now call PTSD was once treated by removing parts of veterans’ brains. The awards are presented annually by The Texas Observer, the nonprofit magazine that has covered Texas politics, government, arts and culture for 60 years.

Dave Philipps has worked at The Gazette in Colorado Springs for 10 years as a reporter, photographer, restaurant critic and sometimes cartoonist. Because Colorado Springs is home to more than 50,000 active duty troops, his work has often focused on the military and the unintended consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Colorado Springs native, Philipps graduated from Middlebury College in 2000 and earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2002.

He won the Livingston Award for National Reporting and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting in 2010 for what judges called “his painstaking stories on the spike in violence within a battered combat brigade returning to Fort Carson after bloody deployments to Iraq, leading to increased mental health care for soldiers.“ Philipps lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and two sons.

Haley Sweetland Edwards
Haley Sweetland Edwards

Haley Sweetland Edwards is a political correspondent at TIME magazine in the Washington, D.C. bureau. She was previously an editor and writer at The Washington Monthly, where she covered domestic policy. Her investigative piece on how Medicare and Medicaid prices are set was listed by Longform.org as among the top seven best political pieces in 2013. In 2012, Edwards’ essay on Vietnam was anthologized in Best American Travel Writing. She has worked as a staff reporter for the Seattle Times and as a freelance foreign correspondent from Yemen, the Middle East and Central Asia, where her reporting was supported in part by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Overseas Press Club. Her work appeared regularly in the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and Global Post, VanityFair.com, and NewYorkMagazine.com.

From Tbilisi, Georgia, Edwards was a regular contributor to the New York Times’ short-lived international blog, The Latitude Blog, in 2011 and 2012. Edwards is a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and is a consummately mediocre, but enthusiastic, harmonica player.

Michael Phillips
Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is a staff reporter in the Washington, D.C., bureau of The Wall Street Journal. He has covered the U.S. ground war in Afghanistan since 2001, embedding with American forces in the field on two dozen occasions. When not in Afghanistan, he writes about the aftermath of the wars, including post- traumatic stress, suicide and other issues facing veterans and military families, as well as other issues of global concern.

Phillips is the author of The Gift of Valor (Broadway Books, 2005) about the life and death of Corporal Jason Dunham, the first Marine to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

In 2011 he was a finalist for Pulitzer Prize for his feature coverage of the war in Afghanistan, and his work has been recognized by a number of prestigious national journalism awards.

Phillips, born in Minneapolis, is a graduate of Harvard College and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Married with two children, he previously reported for The New York Times, United Press International, States News Service, and the Associated Press.

The 2014 MOLLY Prize Dinner

The Texas Observer, a nonprofit monthly magazine that has covered Texas politics, government, arts and culture for 60 years, presents the award annually at the MOLLY National Journalism Prize Dinner. The award includes a $5,000 cash award, and was established by the 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.

Presenters at the gala included emcee Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, and National Public Radio correspondent Wade Goodwyn. Jean and Dan Rather were honorary co-chairs of the event. Nelson J. Roach, partner in the Texas law firm of Nix, Patterson & Roach LLP, received the Bernard Rapoport Philanthropy Award.

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:

Melissa Jones
Susan Longley
Audre Rapoport

Becky Beaver & John Duncan
Bill Hobby
Jean & Dan Rather
Patricia & Ron Rapoport

Carol Barger / Ed & Aimee Boone Cunningham
Lisa Blue Baron
Carlton Carl / Janis & Joe Pinnelli Briscoe * Center for American History, Dr. Don Carleton
Randy & Michelle Childers
Janet Dewey & Bob Ozer
Renee & Russ Graham
Charlotte Herzele
Jeanne & Mickey Klein * Nightingale Code Foundation
Michael Zilkha Chula Reynolds, AKR Foundation
Nelson J. Roach

Susan Blount /Jane & Larry Norwood
Lois Chiles, Lois Chiles Foundation
Beryl Crowley Lynne Dobson & Greg Wooldridge
Ray Farabee / Patricia Albright, In Honor of Mary Margaret Farabee
Robert J. Frump
Cha Guzman & Gilberto Ocañas
P. Vincent LoVoi Family Foundation
Joan & Jeff Lava / Nona Niland
Jim Marston & Annette LoVoi / Alfred Stanley & Kathleen Guido
Conrad Martin, Stewart Mott Foundation
Cath Polito
Mary Nell & Phil Mathis
Marta Mattox
Bonnie Mills/Katie Naranjo
Debbie & Jim Parish
Genevieve Van Cleve & Peter Ravella /Jade Chang Sheppard
Donna & George Shipley Texas Trial Lawyers Association
Buddy & Ellen Temple
Shelburne & Brenda Veselka
Karen & Tom Williams, Fort Worth
Suzanne & Marc Winkelman / MFI Foundation

For all of their hard work, we thank the MOLLY Prize Steering Committee:
Jean & Dan Rather, Honorary Chairs
Becky Beaver & Melissa Jones, Co-Chairs
Susan Crews Bailey
Susan Blount
Aimee Boone & Ed Cunningham
Carlton Carl
Beryl Crowley
Carol Flake
Beverly Fondren
Charlotte Herzele
Joan Lava
Susan Longley
Marta Mattox
Bonnie Mills
Susan Morris
Katie Naranjo
Nona Niland
Larry Norwood
Janis Pinnelli
Nancy Scanlan
Jade Chang Sheppard
Katie Smith
Ellen Sweets
Genevieve Van Cleve Suzanne & Marc Winkelman
Caryl Yontz

Additionally, we thank the Board of Directors for all their efforts:
Susan Longley, President
Carlton Carl
Robert Frump
Melissa Jones
Vincent LoVoi
Jim Marston
Mary Nell Mathis
Ron Rapoport
Peter Ravella
Katie Smith
Dave Mann, Editor
Emily Williams, Publisher

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.