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Winners Selected for 2008 Media Awards for Coverage of Affordable Housing Crisis

April 23, 2009
Contact: Taylor Materio (202) 662-1530 x227 taylor@nlihc.org

Winners Selected for 2008 Media Awards for Coverage of Affordable Housing Crisis

Washington, DC - Journalists from The Associated Press, Chattanooga Times Free Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer won first-place prizes in various categories of the Cushing Niles Dolbeare Media Awards. The awards recognize exemplary coverage of the affordable housing crisis in the United States. They are named in honor of the late Cushing N. Dolbeare, long-time housing advocate and founder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

First-place winners each received $2,500 and were honored at a reception on April 20, 2009 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. Honorable mentions were also recognized.

Single Story: Daily Newspaper (circulation above 100,000)

1st Place
: Ramit Plushnick-Masti of the Associated Press, for “Public Housing Left Behind - Housing the Poor.” Ms. Plushnick-Masti explores the downside of the Hope VI housing renovation program through the moving stories of two women “left behind” after losing their public housing. Through them, she illustrates how often the most destitute are left the most helpless by these “innovative” new programs.

Honorable Mention: Carolyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Foreclosure’s Hidden Victims: The Tenants” tells the troubling stories of renters who lose their homes when their landlords go into foreclosure. Ms. Said exposes the often nearly criminal practices used to force these tenants out of their homes, painting a disturbingly accurate portrait of the tenuous state of the housing market today.

Series of articles: Daily Newspaper (circulation less than 100,000)

1st Place
: Elizabeth Ryan of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, for “Halfway to Homeless,” which tells of “extended stay motels,” whose low weekly rents are an enticing alternative to monthly rents. Unfortunately, as Ms. Ryan has found, the motels often create a cycle of dependency, where people are unable to save the money to move out, and what began as a temporary solution becomes long-term.

Series of articles: Daily Newspaper (circulation above 100,000)

1st Place
: Gregory Korte and Jane Prendergast of the The Cincinnati Enquire for “Section 8: Subsidizing Suburbia" explores the movement of low income families from urban to suburban settings through the use of Section 8 vouchers. Mr. Korte and Ms. Prendergast battled an unyielding housing authority to gain access to information and interview sources, ultimately raising awareness of a previously unspoken issue.

Honorable Mention: Katy Reckdahl of The Times Picayune for “Housing Shortage Dire in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” From February to December of 2008, Ms. Reckdahl created an incredibly comprehensive overview of the housing shortage in post-Katrina New Orleans.  She contrasts the ready availability of affordable housing before the storm with the mad scramble for the few affordable housing units still available today.

Honorable Mention: Bob Shaw of the St. Paul Pioneer Press for “The War Against Affordable Housing” exposes a disturbing trend in suburban communities of discrimination against affordable housing. He shows how suburban voters have been able to quietly keep “undesirables” out, even as the need for affordable suburban housing rises steadily.

Background on the awards:
Dolbeare, who died in 2005, began NLIHC in 1974 in response to the Nixon Administration's moratorium on federal housing programs. She was one of the nation's leading experts on federal housing policy and the housing circumstances of low income people.

Sheila Crowley, NLIHC President, said, "The Cushing Niles Dolbeare Media Awards encourage reporters to continue in their efforts to raise awareness about the affordable housing crisis in America. Cushing Dolbeare believed that a well-informed public was the bedrock of our democracy and the key to solving our housing problems. In her name, NLIHC is honored to recognize journalists who have told the story of the housing disparities in the United States, thus contributing to the awakening of the public consciousness to the urgent housing needs of people who work in the low wage jobs and low income elderly and disabled people."

The awards are presented by NLIHC and were made possible by a grant from Andre Shashaty, President of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in San Rafael, California and his family.

Judges included Crowley; Shashaty; Charles Gardner, Executive Director, Affordable Housing Coalition of South Carolina; Karen Naungayan, Communications Director, Housing California; Dr. William J. Ruehlmann, Professor of Journalism, Virginia Wesleyan College; Colin Asher, award-winning freelance journalist; and Michael Williams, Columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.



National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

727 15th Street NW
, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005
202/662-1530; Fax 202/393-1973; info@nlihc.org; www.nlihc.org
©2009 National Low Income Housing Coalition.


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