University of Nebraska–Lincoln depth report recognized among best global public health stories of 2017

University of Nebraska–Lincoln depth report recognized among best global public health stories of 2017

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 1:15pm
A Lakota man from the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation tries to stave off a winter storm on the streets of Whiteclay.

A depth report by 11 University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications students was named among the best global public health stories of 2017 by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Johns Hopkins editors ranked the student report No. 2 behind one by The New York Times – but ahead of health stories published in The Atlantic, National Geographic, The Guardian and Reuters.

“The ‘Wounds of Whiteclay’ investigative journalism project delivered a hard-hitting look at the staggering toll of alcoholism on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota just across the Nebraska border,” the editors said. “Even more impressive: Journalism students from the University of Nebraska produced the project, which details generations of ‘liquid genocide’ on the reservation.”

The student report, “The Wounds of Whiteclay: Nebraska’s Shameful Legacy,” was developed in a year-long depth reporting class. The student report ultimately helped shut down the four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, which had sold 3.5 million cans of beer in 2016 to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“The level of excellence achieved by these students is tremendous,” said Joe Starita, a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications who oversaw the course where the report was produced. “It is extraordinary for student work to be placed among giants such as The New York Times. We are so proud of these students and the impact their work has had on the State of Nebraska.”

The report also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards grand prize in May 2017 and has been recognized for excellence by The New York Times and the Economist.

“We are extremely proud of the extraordinary work done by our students,” said Maria Marron, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. “The work of our award-winning students creates major change and has major impact. And our students work with professors whose passion for excellence is unparalleled and who are remarkably dedicated to teaching the next generation of journalists. The success of this project demonstrates the high quality of journalism education offered at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, one of the premier colleges in the nation by any measure.” 

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