Austin Chronicle staff writer Jordan Smith was awarded the Stanley Walker award at the 76th Annual Texas Institute of Letters event in San Antonio. This award in the category of newspaper journalism honored Smith’s Austin Chronicle piece investigating the Larry Swearingen case, “The Science of Injustice” (Aug. 19, 2011), which carefully lays out the case surrounding the 1998 murder of Melissa Trotter and calls into question the legitimacy of physical evidence in Texas courts. The case is now under appeal because forensic evidence suggests Swearingen had been arrested and incarcerated weeks before the murder could have been committed.
The Texas Institute of Letters was founded in 1936 to recognize literary achievement and to promote interest in Texas literature. The TIL is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to stimulate interest in Texas letters and to recognize distinctive literary achievement.
“I’m honored to receive this award from the Texas Institute of Letters. To be recognized by such a dynamic group of writers and thinkers is humbling,” states Stanley Walker award winner Jordan Smith.
Austin Chronicle Politics Editor Michael King elaborates: “We are extremely proud of the recognition of Jordan Smith’s reporting and writing by the Texas Institute of Letters, a distinguished keeper of the state’s literary and intellectual legacy. At the Chronicle, we’ve become accustomed to the insight, intelligence, and hard work that Jordan brings to every story she reports, and perhaps we’re a little spoiled. So we’re delighted to see that work honored by the knowledgeable folks at the TIL, and in the name of Stanley Walker, an original Texas ‘maverick.’ Jordan is our colleague, ally, and friend, but her work belongs to all Texans.”