For the third year in a row, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has honored the Forward with an award for excellence in reporting.
The Forward also won its second consecutive award from the chapter for excellence in opinion writing. The judges said that two strongly worded editorials favoring construction of an Islamic cultural center at New York City’s Ground Zero “showed courage and independence.”
The SPJ chapter, called the Deadline Club, presented the awards at a May 16 dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Each winner was given a sculpture created by Rube Goldberg.
“Year after year, the Forward is distinguished by reporting on important issues and providing insightful commentary. These awards are an affirmation of the smart, hard work by dedicated journalists who are committed to telling the American Jewish story,” said Samuel Norich, the Forward’s publisher and executive director.
New York-based newspapers, wire services, magazines, websites and broadcasters competed in 30 categories for awards for the best journalism printed, posted or broadcast in 2010.
Forward staff writer Josh Nathan-Kazis won the award for reporting in newspapers with a circulation of less than 100,000 for his three-part series, “The Cost of Belonging.” In the series that began on September 17, Nathan-Kazis surveyed 20 Jewish and Christian houses of worship in six cities across the country to compare how they raised and spent their money.
The judges said the series “was enterprising and full of surprises, the kind of story people will talk about with their friends and family. It featured great reporting and interesting historical context.”
Finalists in the category were from the Staten Island Advance and The Journal News.
Jane Eisner, the Forward’s editor, won the Deadline Club’s award for opinion writing for two editorials on the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center. Eisner’s award was in a category open to publications of all sizes. Finalists were from Vanity Fair, CNNMoney and Newsday.
In choosing the editorials, the judges said: “In two powerful editorials on one of New York City’s most divisive issues last year, the Forward argued in favor of the construction of a mosque two blocks from ground zero. The editorials showed courage and independence and, agree with the Forward’s views or not, they reflected the journalistic leadership we expect from a newspaper.”
Joshua Furst, a theater critic and book reviewer for the Forward, was a finalist in the awards’ arts reporting category in all publications for his review of the Shakespeare in the Park production of “The Merchant of Venice.” William D. Cohan of ARTnews won the award for “A Controversy Over Degas.”
In 2010, Eisner along with staffers Gabrielle Birkner and Devra Ferst won for reporting in newspapers with a circulation of less 100,000 for stories examining gender wage disparity in Jewish communal institutions. The same year, columnist Jay Michaelson won the opinion-writing award, open to publications of all sizes, for three columns, including one titled “How I’m Losing My Love for Israel.”
In 2009, staff writer Nathaniel Popper received the best reporting award in the less than 100,000 category for his series of stories on illegal workplace conditions at the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa.