Esther Kaplan wins MOLLY National Journalism Prize

Alan Pogue

Esther Kaplan Wins 2015 MOLLY National Journalism Prize for work
in The Virginia Quarterly

Honorable Mentions: Alex Campbell, Buzzfeed News; Duaa Eldeib,
David Jackson and Gary Marx,
Chicago Tribune

The 2015 MOLLY National Journalism Prize has been presented to Esther Kaplan for “Losing Sparta” in the Virginia Quarterly Review. One judge praised Kaplan for her reporting “on the economics that many feel have damaged the fabric of America,” saying “[t]he depth of reporting is impressive, the breadth of vision remarkable.” You can read the full story here.

The competition recognizes great American journalism and honors the memory of Molly Ivins, the legendary reporter, columnist and former editor of The Texas Observer.

Honorable Mention awards were presented to: Duaa Eldeib, David Jackson, and Gary Marx, for their 5-part series “Harsh Treatment” in the Chicago Tribune, and Alex Campbell for “Battered, Bereaved & Behind Bars” in Buzzfeed News.

The Texas Observer, a nonprofit monthly magazine that has covered Texas politics, arts and culture for 61 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 May 29th event included emcee Kathleen Turner, renowned actress and activist, and keynote speaker Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration reform activist. Dr. Don Carleton and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History received the Bernard Rapoport Philanthropy Award.

Esther KaplanEsther Kaplan is editor of The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, where she has overseen dozens of award-winning investigations. Kaplan is a radio and print journalist who has written for The Nation, the American Prospect, In These Times, the Village Voice, and other publications. She is the author of With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right, which Ms. magazine called “a frightening and necessary read.” She is co-host of Beyond the Pale, a weekly program covering Jewish culture and politics, on WBAI in New York City. She was formerly a senior editor at The Nation, features editor at Poz, the award-winning national AIDS magazine, and communications director at Communications Workers of America Local 1180. She began her journalism career as an assistant editor at the Village Voice, where she became a regular contributor. Her reporting has won awards from the International Labor Communications Association and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

Alex Campbell Alex Campbell is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News. Since he joined BuzzFeed in 2014, he has written about how battered women can be treated as criminals, how New York City allowed a con artist to clean up Ebola, and how some teens in Texas were sent to jail for skipping school. He also has reported from Washington, Chicago, and Johannesburg, South Africa and was previously an investigative reporter at The Indianapolis Star. Campbell is 26 years old and based in New York City.

Duaa EldeibDuaa Eldeib is an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune, where she focuses on child welfare and criminal justice. After her investigation into Chicago police’s use of polygraphs found that several cases ended in false confessions, prosecutors dropped the charges against a mother who had been wrongfully convicted of killing her son. Before joining the Tribune in 2010, Eldeib was a reporter at the Daily Southtown. There she uncovered theft and corruption at a regional office of education that led to the arrest of the superintendent and spurred lawmakers to abolish the office. She and two colleagues were finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 2015, the same year they won the National Headliner Award for Public Service. Her work also has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Associated Press, Illinois Press Association, Missouri School of Journalism and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

David JacksonDavid Jackson has reported for the Chicago Tribune since 1991 except for a year at The Washington Post, where he and three colleagues were awarded the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service for articles on citizens shot by police. At the Tribune, David was a Pulitzer finalist four times: For this 2014 series that showed youth were assaulted, raped and prostituted at state-funded residential treatment centers, spurring immediate reforms; for a 2011 series with Gary Marx that interviewed fugitives who live with impunity in foreign countries; for the 1999 series “How Troubled Kids Became Big Business”; and for a 1995 investigation of the Nation of Islam that sparked a federal probe of then-CHA chief Vince Lane, who was imprisoned. David and Gary’s work on fugitives was awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.

Gary MarxGary Marx is an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune and a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, including in 2015. Marx started at the Tribune in 1988 and was the newspaper’s South America correspondent from 1990 to 1994. Upon returning to Chicago, he covered criminal justice and was on the Tribune‘s investigative team before rejoining the foreign staff in 2002 based in Havana, Cuba. In 2007, Marx was forced to leave Cuba after authorities deemed his coverage as “too negative.” During his career, Marx has covered numerous armed conflicts and U.S. military operations, and his investigations have led to indictments for murder and other crimes and sparked sweeping reform.

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