Athens, Ga. – The Red & Black, an independent student newspaper serving the University of Georgia community, and reporters Julia Carpenter, Jacob Demmitt and Mimi Ensley have won the seventh annual Betty Gage Holland Award, which recognizes excellence in college journalism.
A series of stories by the Red & Black reporters examined claims of sexual harassment against university professors and found that on more than one occasion the names of accusers were not redacted on documents provided by university officials. The university has since changed its policies to better protect anonymity in sexual harassment claims.
“If students and faculty can’t come forward to air their complaints about those harassing them without a veil of protection, it puts them in a position in which silence may be the best option,” said Ed Morales, Red & Black editorial adviser, in support of his publication’s entry. “As this series reveals, too often those who sought to right a wrong were hung out for all to see, putting their jobs and education in peril, and in two cases forcing the women to leave UGA or take other jobs for less money elsewhere.”
The student reporters filed open records requests, reviewed guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and talked with university officials, the accused and accusers when examining sexual harassment claims. Their efforts helped identify weaknesses in how this type information is prepared and shared.
The James M. Cox Jr. Institute in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication sponsors the Holland Award for Newspaper Management Studies.
“The Red & Black is to be commended for uncovering flaws in a system that demands anonymity to be successful,” said Cecil Bentley, assistant director of the Cox Institute. “Judges were impressed by the records research and in-depth reporting over several months to properly tell this story.”
The annual award honors the late Betty Gage Holland, a long-time friend of journalism education at UGA. An award of $1,000 goes to the student reporters and $1,000 to The Red & Black as sponsor publication for their winning entry.
For more information on the Betty Gage Holland Award, contact Bentley at email@example.com or 706/542-4993. Holland Award winners and contest submission guidelines are available at http://www.grady.uga.edu/hollandaward.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers an undergraduate major in journalism with an emphasis in magazine journalism, public affairs journalism, publication management or visual journalism. Additional majors are digital and broadcast journalism, mass media arts, advertising and public relations. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media.