The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, today announced the winners of the 2010 Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma.
The St. Petersburg Times received the Dart Award for “For Their Own Good” (Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore, reporters; Edmund D. Fountain, photographer; Kelly Benham, enterprise editor). This investigative series takes an individual and systemic look at trauma and its lifelong consequences for survivors, families and communities. It tells the stories of men who were brutally abused as children while under the care of the Florida School for Boys and the ripple effect it had on their lives. In laying out this powerful story, this remarkable special report implicitly demands that society re-examine its assumptions about blame, punishment and incarceration.
Judges called “For Their Own Good” “gripping” and “unflinching,” and applauded it for demonstrating the “profoundly deep” and “long-lasting nature of emotional wounds” that result from physical abuse. They praised Montgomery and Moore for their dogged reporting, commitment to telling the stories fully, and honest and evocative narrative writing that transported readers to the disturbing scenes of the crimes. They also praised Fountain for his powerful portraits that reveal the complex identities of dignified survivors and haunted souls.