The Forward captured both finalist spots for reporting by small and mid-size newspapers and was nominated as a finalist for opinion writing in the 2012 contest sponsored by the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The paper was named a finalist for reporting by newspapers under 100,000 circulation for Paul Berger’s story, “Where’s Washington’s Letter?” The first president’s iconic letter to the Jews of Newport, R.I., written in 1790, promises the new government “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” The whereabouts of the letter, once on public view but now in private hands, was largely unknown until Berger tracked it down to an art storage facility in suburban Washington.
The Forward was also nominated in the same category for a story titled, “How an Anti-Terror Program Became a Jewish Earmark,” written by Nathan Guttman, Maia Efrem and Eileen Reynolds. The article looked at how Jewish institutions won the lion’s share of grants from an $118 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security program established after 9/11, and examined how the money was spent.
The Forward has won in the reporting category for three consecutive years.
The paper’s editor, Jane R. Eisner, is one of three finalists this year in opinion writing, for newspapers of all sizes, for three editorials on social justice. Eisner won the same award in 2011, and Forward columnist Jay Michaelson won the award in 2010. Earlier in April, Eisner won the national Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial writing.
The SPJ chapter, called The Deadline Club, said that it had received nearly 440 entries from 71 media outlets, the most in recent memory. The Deadline Club honors excellence in journalism published, posted or broadcast in the New York area. Contest proceeds are used to fund scholarships for young journalists. Winners will be announced at a dinner on June 4.