May 18, 2011

American Bar Association Announces 2011 Gavel Award Winners

From an ABA press release:

The American Bar Association announced today its selections for the 54th presentation of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose.

The ABA will present six Silver Gavels and two honorable mentions from the nearly 200 entries received in all eligible categories, which include: books, magazines, newspapers, commentary, drama and literature, documentaries, television, radio and websites.

Selection criteria includes: how the entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information or issues treated; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in production of entry.

The awards presentation will be July 19 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Dan Abrams, legal analyst for ABC News, will be the featured speaker.

The following is a complete list of winners with a short description of their work:


Silver Gavel

Profiting from Fallen Soldiers

Bloomberg Markets

New York

David Evans, Senior Writer

Fallen Soldiers’ Families Denied Cash as Insurers Profit”

Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal Over Benefits”

Taxpayer-Funded Profits”

Exposes how life insurance companies have profited from death benefits owed to families of service members and other government employees, examining causes and consequences.


Silver Gavel

Hounded: Debtors and the New Breed of Collectors

Star Tribune


Chris Serres, Business Reporter

Glenn Howatt, CAR Reporter

A six-part series that explores recent changes in the debt collection industry, reveals how people with unpaid bills are being jailed, and examines consumer protection and regulation.

Honorable Mention

Detention Dilemma


New York, New York

Dafna Linzer, Senior Reporter

Chisun Lee, Reporter

Krista Kjellman Schmidt, Deputy Editor of News Applications

A series of 14 articles about detention policies at Guantanamo under the Obama administration, which also considers the role of the federal courts and Congress.


Silver Gavel

Bonding for Profit

National Public Radio

Washington, D.C.

Laura Sullivan, Correspondent

Steven Drummond, Editor

A three-part investigation into the bail bond process in the U.S. criminal justice system.


Silver Gavel

The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today

Jay Rosenstein Productions

Champaign, Illinois

Jay Rosenstein, Producer, Writer, Director, Photographer

Jude Leak, Editor

Wendy Blackstone, Composer

David Ogden Stiers, Narrator

A one-hour PBS film that tells the compelling personal story that led to a landmark 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the separation of church and state in public schools, McCollum v. Board of Education.


Silver Gavel

A Call to Act: Ledbetter v. Goodyear

The Documentary Group

New York

Robe Imbriano, Producer, Writer, Director

A 22-minute documentary that tells the contemporary story of Lilly Ledbetter, who took her fight for fair pay through the U.S. court system and the halls of Congress.


Silver Gavel

Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices

Twelve/Hachette Book Group

New York

Noah Feldman, Author

Author Noah Feldman offers a group biography of Franklin Roosevelt’s four greatest Supreme Court Justices: Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter and Robert Jackson.

Honorable Mention

The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr


Crown Publishers

Ken Gormley, Author

Presents a historical narrative and analysis of the events leading up to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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