ITHACA, NY — The nonprofit news organization Mother Jones has been named winner of the fifth annual Izzy Award, presented by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College. The outlet was honored for publishing “major, timely stories and investigations throughout 2012 that had significant public impact.”
Known for investigative journalism since its founding in 1976, Mother Jones — currently coedited by Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery — used its website and bimonthly print magazine to break national stories last year on issues ranging from the presidential election to mass shootings. The news outlet is named for Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, a prominent labor and community organizer at the turn of the 20th century who was once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America.”
The Izzy Award is named after a legendary dissident as well, the muckraking journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone, who launched his “I.F. Stone’s Weekly” newsletter in 1953 during the height of the McCarthy witch hunts. Stone, who died in 1989, exposed government deceit while championing civil liberties, racial justice and international diplomacy.
Mother Jones journalists will be on campus in April to accept the award at a public ceremony, at a date and time to be announced.
Citing its “persistence in bringing clarity to complex subjects and in shining a light into the dark corners of American politics and society,” the Izzy Award judges honored Mother Jones for “continuing the legacy of Izzy Stone.”
Among the outlet’s achievements in 2012:
- In September, Washington bureau chief David Corn rocked the presidential campaign by releasing an undercover video of candidate Mitt Romney at a fundraising event describing 47% of the electorate as people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.” Corn’s extensive prior reporting on Romney had led him to the video.
- In the wake of the Colorado movie theater mass shooting in July, senior editor Mark Follman and a reporting team compiled the definitive (and interactive) database on U.S. mass shootings over the last 30 years — with supplementary articles exploring mental illness issues and NRA-backed state laws furthering gun proliferation. After the Connecticut school shooting in December, this extensive database and background helped inform the national debate over gun control.
- Throughout the year, reporter Andy Kroll and colleagues offered some of the best and most accessible coverage of “dark money,” the funding of candidates by secretive super-PACs and nonprofits. The reporting included crucial history from Watergate through Clinton-era soft-money scandals to today’s billionaire bankrollers — and pointed toward reform.
Judges of the Izzy Award are PCIM director Jeff Cohen; University of Illinois communications professor and author Robert W. McChesney; and Linda Jue, executive director and editor of the San Francisco-based G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism.
“In a competitive field this year, the judges were bowled over by Mother Jones and its accessible reporting on tough issues, with journalism that affected and informed national debates,” said Cohen. “That there were many strong candidates this year — including reporters, bloggers and video journalists who examined such topics as labor rights, voting rights, inequality, civil liberties, militarism and the ‘War on Terror’ — demonstrates the strength of independent media today.”
The previous winners of the Izzy Award are journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous; the Center for Media and Democracy/“ALEC Exposed”; author/columnist Robert Scheer; New York City’s in-depth outlet “City Limits”; investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill; blogger Glenn Greenwald; and “Democracy Now!” host/executive producer Amy Goodman.
Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, the Park Center for Independent Media was launched in 2008 as a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems.