Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism

From a post on nieman.harvard.edu headlined “‘Targeted’ by Tampa Bay Times wins 2020 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism”:

“Targeted,” an in-depth investigation by the Tampa Bay Times into a police program that for years monitored, intimidated and harassed families in Pasco County Florida, is winner of the 2020 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism.

The reporting by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi revealed that ten years ago, the Sheriff’s Office in Pasco County, Florida, created a secretive data-driven system ostensibly designed to proactively combat crime. The algorithm instead was used to try to predict which residents might break the law. During the last five years, the sheriff’s department used that information to target nearly 1,000 people and assigned deputies to repeatedly show up at their homes, often without probable cause, a warrant or evidence of a crime.

Judges selected two other entries as finalists for the Taylor Award:

“Grace: A Failure in Michigan’s Juvenile Justice System,” a ProPublica series that investigated the case of a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for not doing her schoolwork and the deeply flawed juvenile justice system that allowed her detention.

“Torn Apart,” a USA TODAY series that showed how the state of Florida used a child protection law to take children from families, often without sufficient cause, and put them directly in harm’s way in a poorly monitored foster care system.

The Taylor Award is presented by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The honor includes a $10,000 prize for the winner and $1,000 each for the two finalists. The award program was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family, who published The Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999. The purpose of the award is to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s journalists and news organizations.

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