John Bartlow Martin Second Place Goes to Westword Writer

Contact: David Standish
Medill School of Journalism
Northwestern University

Evanston, Ill. — May 3, 2004 — The winner of the 16th annual John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism is Wil S. Hylton’s “Sick On The Inside: Correctional HMOs and the Coming Prison Plague.” It appeared in the August 2003 issue of Harper’s Magazine. The story editor was Ben Austen. This year’s winner is a powerful investigation of the horrors of the prison health-care system and the devastating consequences they may have on the general population.

Second place went to Julie Jargon, for her series, “The War Within,” published in Westword, an alternative publication in Denver, Colorado. The series revealed repeated instances of sexual assault at the Air Force Academy—what has come to be called the “rape scandal.”

The third place winner was Katherine Boo for “The Marriage Cure,” which ran in the August 18/25 2003 issue of The New Yorker. This article takes the reader into a housing project in Oklahoma City, where Boo followed the lives of two women for a year, both of whom were part of a federally funded program to promote marriage among the poor.

The research and reporting in each of these pieces were entirely consistent with the kind of journalism practiced by John Bartlow Martin. In the ‘40s and‘50s, Martin’s in-depth articles on racketeering, poor working conditions, racism and false convictions appeared in Life, Look, Collier’s and other major U.S. magazines. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. For ten years Martin taught at Medill, capping his career in journalism and government.

This year’s winners were chosen by Laura Goldstein, Executive Editor of This Old House; Jim Mullen, Editor of Miami New Times; and Terry Noland, Articles Editor of Esquire magazine. In addition to the three winners, the finalists included articles published in American Journalism Review (Charles Layton), Business Week (Anthony Bianco), Los Angeles Times Magazine (Vince Beiser), New York Magazine (Elisabeth Franck), SF Weekly (Bernice Yeung), Texas Monthly (Cecilia Balli), and Westword (David Holthouse, Alan Prendergast).