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York Daily Record/Sunday News honored with G. Richard Dew Award

The G. Richard Dew Award is the PNA Foundation’s most prestigious honor for outstanding journalism. The award was established in memory of G. Richard Dew, former general manager of PNA (then PNPA) and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to its community or state through an article or series of articles.

Harrisburg,Pennsylvania (PR MediaRelease) September 19, 2019

The York Daily Record/Sunday News is the recipient of the 2019 Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation’s G. Richard Dew Award.

The G. Richard Dew Award is the PNA Foundation’s most prestigious honor for outstanding journalism. The award was established in memory of G. Richard Dew, former general manager of PNA (then PNPA) and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to its community or state through an article or series of articles.

Recipients of this award are honored for work that improves the quality of community life, enhances the public’s understanding of the role of news media and exemplifies journalistic responsiveness to matters of public interest. The York Daily Record/Sunday News is the 2019 winner for its extensive coverage of priest abuse, detailing accountability and safety beyond the grand jury report.  From focusing on current problems to the risks of continued coverup and abuse, YDR’s reporting dug deeper to show how the church continues to support, hide and comfort priests who sexually abused children.

In a newsroom with less than two dozen people, the YDR brought watchdog journalism to life, producing approximately 100 articles and videos over five months.  Their investigative reporting found that more than 78 Pennsylvania priests who confessed to abuse were still being paid.  They tracked abusive priests and informed unknowing neighbors. They exposed a defrocked priest who was still leading a Catholic church.  Their stories demonstrated how the church blocks protections for all children – Catholic or not – and that other churches also prioritized public relations over the rape of children. They revealed the connections between Catholic lobbyists, lawmakers and the Harrisburg diocese that influenced state leaders.

Drawing national attention, YDR’s reporting was cited by the Poynter Institute as “a blueprint for fair, empathetic and in-depth coverage of ongoing and systematic sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.”

Judges commented that the tone of the series was set by a quote from Kristen Houser, Chief of Public Affairs for the PA Coalition Against Rape. “We have to learn about things that make us uncomfortable,” she said.  Judges continued, “The YDR provided the public with valuable information, highlighting serial abuse amongst the priesthood, as well as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and those in church leadership positions. The videos were excellent compliments to the series. The damage done to those willing to share their stories was palpable. It was an uncomfortable read but localized the church abuse scandal for readers.”

The G. Richard Dew Award will be presented Oct. 25, 2019, during the PNA Annual Convention at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center.

The PNA Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation organized as a public foundation. Its mission is to provide training and resources to PNA members, to develop the next generation of readers and journalists, and to educate the public on the importance of the First Amendment and the role of a free press.

Melinda Condon
Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation
Executive Director, PNA Foundation
717-703-3002
melindac@pa-news.org

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