Fourth Annual Thurgood Marshall Journalism Awards Announced
Chicago Tribune's Groundbreaking Series on Illinois's Death Penalty
The award in the broadcast media category will be given to Jeff Crilley of Fox 4 Television in Dallas, Texas, who reported on two disturbing cases in Texas. Employing balanced, in-depth interviews, and accompanied by the superb camera work of Guy Hernandez, Crilley looked at the mental illness of convicted murderer Larry Robison, who was executed in Texas this year. His work also delved into the case against Darlie Routier for the tragic murder of her two young children in Dallas. Routier was convicted and sentenced to death for the crimes, but much of the evidence is steeped in controversy. She remains on death row in Texas, which accounts for about one-third of all executions in the U.S.
This year's awards will be presented at Death Penalty Focus of California's Annual Awards Dinner on April 18th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Warren Beatty, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter are the Co-chairs of this event honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to human rights.
The Thurgood Marshall Journalism Awards are named in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice who believed that the death penalty would end once people understood how it works in practice. "The question with which we must deal," Justice Marshall wrote, "is not whether a substantial proportion of American citizens would today, if polled, opine that capital punishment is barbarously cruel, but whether they would find it to be so in light of all information presently available." The Marshall Awards are bestowed annually and are accompanied by a prize of $3,000 for each of the categories of print and broadcast journalism.
The distinguished judges for this year's Awards were Pulitzer Prize winning, columnist Jim Dwyer of the New York Daily News, and veteran writer, educator, and columnist Colman McCarthy, formerly with the Washington Post.
Among the previous winners of the Thurgood Marshall Awards were the producers of the television series The Practice, ABC-TV's Nightline, documentary film-maker Jonathan Stack, and writers for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Dallas Morning News, and the North Carolina Independent.
The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization which focuses its research on the problems of capital punishment in the United States. Entries for next year's awards must be published or produced in 2000, and should be submitted to the Death Penalty Information Center by January 31, 2001.
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