April 2, 2007 — For Immediate Release
Understanding Government announces $50,000 Prize for Preventive Journalism
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 2, 2007
Understanding Government today announced the Prize for Preventive Journalism, a $50,000 award to be given for the best article published in a magazine or newspaper about how government deals with a significant public problem.
The new prize is part of the Washington, D.C. foundation’s mission to foster better government performance through better journalism on the work of government. “Our goal is preventive journalism,” said Understanding Government founder and president Charles Peters. “We are looking for articles that identify inept leaders, misguided policies, and bureaucratic bungling before they lead to disasters like the bad pre-war intelligence about WMD and the travesty that was the response to Katrina.”
The foundation will begin accepting entries on July 1, 2007 for a one-year period and will award the $50,000 cash prize in September 2008. The amount of the prize is larger than for most journalism awards. Peters explains: “It’s been hard to get reporters to look at mine safety until after the widows are weeping. The large award is designed to wake journalists up to the need to do this kind of reporting before it’s too late.”
Published articles submitted for the prize can cover federal, state, or local government, or a combination of these. In addition to describing the issue and government’s response, entries must include proposals for how government can more effectively address a given problem.
Understanding Government is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving government effectiveness by increasing public understanding of how government works. Founded in 1999, the organization supports journalism that reports on government and tracks government programs that have been especially effective or ineffective on its website, www.understandinggov.org.
The Board of Directors of Understanding Government is composed of: Charles Peters, founding editor of The Washington Monthly; Matthew Cooper, Washington editor of Portfolio magazine; James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly; James Gibney, Deputy Managing Editor, The Atlantic Monthly; Phil Keisling, Senior Vice President, CorSource Technology Group and former Oregon Secretary of State; Matthew Miller, Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Co. and Senior Fellow of the New America Foundation; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland; and Steve Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet.net.
For further information, contact Edward Hodgman, executive director of Understanding Government, at ehodgman [-at-] understandinggov.org, by telephone at (202) 783-2439, or at 1319 F St., NW, Suite 810, Washington, D.C. 20004. Nominations for the Preventive Journalism prize should be articles published between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 and applications must be postmarked by July 15, 2008.