Debbie Weingarten Receives Honorable Mention from Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting


The National Press Foundation has established a  journalism award to honor excellence in mental health reporting. The award, which carries a $10,000 prize, is called the Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting, in memory of the Potomac, Maryland philanthropist and activist. Mattingly’s family decided to establish the award in the aftermath of her tragic death in 2014. The award is open to any U.S.-based journalist at a U.S.-based news organization, including print, broadcast and online journalists. The award recognizes exemplary journalism that illuminates and advances the understanding of mental health issues and treatments for the illness.

John Schmid of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is the 2017 winner of the National Press Foundation’s Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting.

Schmid combined data and storytelling to trace the aftershocks of Milwaukee’s collapsed manufacturing economy and the impact it had on generations of children.

NPF judges said: “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put mental illness into rare perspective with a compelling explanatory project that illustrated the social and political costs of childhood trauma. Told through the lens of a young girl who is a survivor, “A Time to Heal” walked readers through the crushing litany of adverse childhood experiences that can harm and define children into adulthood.”

After the series was published, Oprah Winfrey highlighted Schmid’s work in a piece on “60 Minutes.”

The judges awarded honorable mentions to:

• ProPublica, for a harrowing account of a Mississippi teenager who was jailed in 2012 for stabbing his father’s girlfriend and then languished behind bars for 1,266 days waiting for a psychiatric evaluation.

• The Guardian, for reporting on mental health problems among farmers, who have a higher suicide rate than any other occupation in the U.S.

Barbara Ehrenreich Featured on WNYC

Americans are afraid of aging and death, but how much control do we have over these processes? Barbara Ehrenreich discusses this in her latest book Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer. Ehrenreich looks at aging on a cellular level and exhibits how little control we actually have over the aging process, despite fervent attempts like purchasing anti-aging products, undergoing cosmetic surgery, or eating more kale. 

Barbara Ehrenreich will be in conversation with Alissa Quart on April 10 at 7 pm at the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble (150 East 86th Street).

This segment is guest hosted by Kai Wright.

A Personal Take on Storm-Torn Puerto Rico

While news photographers were documenting the damage that Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico in September, Joseph Rodríguez decided to take a more personal look at the human toll. He traveled to the island in October to shoot portraits and conduct interviews, and also document how residents were coping without electricity or enough food, water and shelter. A selection of the photos appeared with an essay by Ed Morales in The New York Times Sunday Review on November 5.

“My way of working is to give it a closer look, and go slower and deeper, vis-á-vis portraiture,” Rodríguez says. Puerto Rico is familiar territory for him. For several years, he has been covering the island’s economic crisis and its impact on residents. His stories from that project appeared in The Times in 2015 and 2016. Rodríguez is known for other long-term projects, too. Those include one about Spanish Harlem in the 1980s, recently published as a book by powerHouse; and East Side Stories, a 1992 project about the Chicano gangs of LA that he revisited last year.

Because he is well known for his subject matter and approach, it took only a few phone calls to get a two-week assignment to photograph Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. His first step was to secure some funding from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. They had previously supported his work in Puerto Rico about the economic crisis, as well as the update of his East Side Stories project. “I said I wanted to go to Puerto Rico,” Rodríguez says, explaining that he didn’t have to make a formal pitch. “I’ve got their ear so I can call people.”

EHRP executive editor Alissa Quart says she and EHRP managing director David Wallis reached out to Rodríguez first. They were reading news reports about the storm damage in Puerto Rico. “I thought of him immediately, and said, ‘We have to get him covering this,'” Quart recalls.

EHRP provides funding to journalists to cover stories about economic inequality all over the U.S. Wallis says, “We’re trying to [support journalists] who really know areas of the country that are struggling, from Puerto Rico, to the heartland and the South. We want people who have lived there, grown up there, or spent a lot of time there.”

But EHRP’s funding is meant to supplement—not replace—fees paid by publications that don’t have the resources to cover in-depth stories on their own. Rodríguez says EHRP offered him about enough money for airfare and a rental car. “They said their only stipulation was that I had to get [a commitment from] a publication.”

Rodríguez decided to pitch it to The Times because the paper published his earlier Puerto Rico work, and because the paper has such a big audience. “They are the paper of record, and they have two versions—English and Spanish— so the audience becomes even larger,” he says. He made his pitch in a phone call to Jeffrey Henson Scales, photo editor for the Exposures column of the paper’s Sunday Review section.

“We have a working relationship. Joe just said, ‘There’s a story you aren’t getting, and I’d like to go down and get it,’” says Henson Scales. “He didn’t know exactly what he was going to get. You have to be open to following the leads when you get there.” He adds, “We just like his work, and I knew it would look different from [news photos] our national desk was shooting.”

Henson Scales declines to say what he paid Rodríguez, other than to say, “We don’t have a lot of money, but I like to give at least a few days’ rate. It depends on who the photographer is, [and] how much confidence I have. And it helps if they come with [funding], as long as it’s from a legitimate funding organization that I can vet.” EHRP meets the criteria, and has provided funding for a number of stories published in the past by The Times.

Rodríguez took a low-tech approach to shooting because “there was no fucking power. None. Everyone had to run to the convention center to charge batteries, or use cars or solar generators.” He shot 35mm and 120 film with a Leica and a Rolleiflex, respectively.

After two weeks, he’d shot 40 rolls of film. He delivered low-res scans to Henson Scales for the editing. “I’m looking for strong individual images and working with photographers to create essays of 14 to 20 images,” Henson Scales explains. With Rodríguez’s take, he was drawn to the portraits in particular. Among his favorites were one of a boy in the doorway of an abandoned house, and another of 86-year-old Felix Rafael Cordero, sitting in the wreckage of his former home. “It’s a lovely portrait of him in his yard,” Henson Scales says of the latter portrait. In addition to the portraits, Henson Scales selected images that underscored the damage and privations, such as a downed power pole blocking a street, and residents collecting water and standing in lines at banks and supermarkets.

“I mark the shots I like, and send [my selections] back to Joe. We do that once or twice,” Henson Scales explains. 

“He asks me if anything is missing,” Rodríguez says. “At this point, I just want to get the story out. It’s not my edit, it’s theirs. For stories, I leave it to editors. I’m not talking about books.” 

Rodríguez says Visura and powerHouse will partner to publish a book of his Puerto Rico work, including the stories dating back to 2015. For the book edit, Rodríguez says he’ll scan every image, make 5x7 prints, and then tack them up on a wall where he can study them, move them around, and winnow them down over a period of time. “I can’t edit on a plasma screen. Narrowing it down on a laptop, you miss things,” he says.

The publisher powerHouse hasn’t announced a release date. “It’s a long-term project that
we just started talking about,” says publisher Daniel Power.


For the full story, visit PDN Online.

2018 Erasmus Prize Awarded To Barbara Ehrenreich

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Acclaimed journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, 76, has been awarded the 2018 Erasmus Prize. The annual prize, which includes a € 150,000 in prize money, is given by The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation to a person or an institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities, the social sciences or the arts. His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, will present Ehrenreich with the award at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on November 27, 2018.

In a statement, the Foundation praised Ehrenreich for her courage in putting herself on the line in her journalistic work. By leading the life of people in precarious situations, she gives a voice to groups in society that would otherwise remain unheard, and she lets us see life as people on the underside of society live it.  A major voice in the current debate surrounding the search for truth, she is an advocate of critical thinking and fact finding. Motivated by empathy and social engagement, she brings statistical data to life—for example concerning conditions at the bottom of the labor market. In doing so she embodies the Erasmian ideals championed by the Foundation.

The Foundation will organize a varied program of events about Ehrenreich and "The Power of Investigative Journalism," this year's theme.

"I'm proud… and kind of overwhelmed by the Dutch—and I'm not just saying this because I want to apply for asylum," said Ehrenreich at The National Press Club.  

About Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich's international breakthrough came in 2001 with her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, for which she spent months trying to survive on her earnings from what society calls 'unskilled work'. In her subsequent work she often applied this technique of 'immersion journalism', as it is now known, for instance to highlight the obstacles encountered by the American middle class in scaling the social ladder. Ehrenreich also founded the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism nonprofit that examines inequality in America, in 2012.

For further information please contact Dr. Shanti van Dam, director of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Tel. 020-6752753 or 0031-653134878

SOURCE The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation

EHRP-Supported Article Nominated for National Magazine Award

For the second time in four years, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP) has supported and co-published work that is among the finalists for a National Magazine Award, this time as part of a package from Oxford American magazine.

The 2018 nomination in the General Excellence in the Literature, Science and Politics category recognizes Oxford American’s work across three of the magazine’s 2017 issues. Highlights include a nearly 12,000-word EHRP-supported feature, “The Socialist Experiment,” by Katie Gilbert. Gilbert’s article profiles Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Miss., and his vision for a progressive local government.

In 2014 the EHRP-supported multimedia work “The Last Clinic,” published by The Atavist, was nominated in the video category. Read more here.

On The Ground Named Among Top Journalism Collaborations of 2017

There’s no question that the ranks of local journalists have been decimated in the United States over the last decade. As local newsrooms have been gutted, the concentration of journalists in this country has shifted to the coasts — and that was a big part of what led to the huge gap in media coverage (i.e., the media bubble) around the 2016 presidential election.

That’s why The Guardian teamed up with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project to launch On the Ground. Read the full story in Media Shift.

CBC Radio: Why Low-Wage Workers Are Being Left Out of the Sexual Harassment Conversation

In an interview with CBC Radio, EHRP founder Barbara Ehrenreich worries that the uproar over sexual harassment in the workplace has yet to be heard in low-wage industries.

Worker Abuse Is Rampant, and Sexual Harassment Is Just the Start, Ehrenreich Tells Slate

While reporting her landmark book Nickel and Dimed, EHRP's founder routinely fended off sexual harassment. "A waitress," she recalls, "has to be prepared basically all the time to hear remarks on her body." Read the full interview in Slate here.

EHRP Announces Fund for Reporters Axed by DNAinfo and Gothamist

ATTENTION EX-DNAINFO, GOTHAMIST JOURNALISTS: Barbara Ehrenreich’s Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP) “has established a $5,000 fund to assign feature-length articles to three reporters” hailing from the recently shuttered sites. “This is the least we can do to support journalists who have been suddenly deprived of their livelihoods by the capricious actions of an anti-labor billionaire,” Ehrenreich said in a statement. Apply here.

Economic Hardship Reporting Project Appoints David Wallis Managing Director


The Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP), the nonprofit organization founded by Barbara Ehrenreich to fund journalism about inequality in America, announced the appointment of David Wallis as managing director. Wallis will work with executive editor Alissa Quart to direct EHRP operations and initiatives, and help the five-year-old organization continue to build sustained capacity.

EHRP works with top-flight media outlets to co-publish stories by independent journalists about poverty and economic struggle, topics often given short shrift by mainstream media.
“The Economic Hardship Reporting Project steps into the breach created by rapid media consolidation, enabling many independent journalists to do critical work,” Wallis said. “It’s an honor to contribute to what Barbara and Alissa are building.”

Previously Wallis served as opinion editor of Forward and deputy editor of The New York Observer. Wallis has contributed to The New Yorker, Slate, The Washington Post and The New York Times, edited two critically acclaimed books, Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print (Nation Books, 2004) and Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression (W.W. Norton, 2007). In 2000, he founded, an online syndication services that pays the majority of proceeds to contributors. In 2007, he was a plaintiff, in Martinez-Alequin et al v. The City of New York et al, a historic First Amendment lawsuit, which forced New York City to reform its press credentialing process, which previously discriminated against online journalists.
“EHRP has already made a real difference in how inequality is reported in America,” said Quart. “David will now bring our organization to an even higher level.”

About The Economic Hardship Reporting Project
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project aims to change the national conversation around both poverty and economic insecurity. The stories EHRP commissions — from narrative features to photo essays and video — put a human face on financial instability. EHRP funds and places reportage and photojournalism with news sites and magazines including The New York Times, NBC News, Politico, The Verge, Vox, Vogue, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Arkansas Times and many others.

Economic Hardship Reporting Project Earns LA Press Club Awards


The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, (EHRP), the nonprofit organization founded by Barbara Ehrenreich to fund journalism about growing inequality in America, won three Los Angeles Press Club awards for its collaborations with Capital & Main, announced at the 59th Southern California Journalism Awards.

EHRP won first place for commentary for executive editor Alissa Quart’s column in Capital & Main that was co-published with The Guardian, “Is the Middle Class Being ‘Disrupted’ Into Extinction?”
“Backed with pertinent facts, Alissa Quart’s dystopian opinion suggests an uneasy future for the ‘Middle Precariat,’” said the Club’s judges of Quart’s column.

The article sought to make sense of the many middle-class professions facing constriction in the last decade, most startlingly by robots

EHRP also won two third place awards from the Press Club, in the lifestyle feature and hard news feature categories respectively.

“In a time when the media neglects reporting on social class and ignores labor almost completely, Alissa’s columns cast a bright light on the new, well-founded 'fear of falling' among the upper and lower middle classes,” says EHRP founder Barbara Ehrenreich.

These awards define different poles of what the small but mighty journalism non-profit EHRP has been supporting with grants and editing for five years. The first is to foster innovative writing, analysis and reporting about inequality and ensure these deep, new takes reach the broadest possible audiences. The second is to enable independent journalists to prosper during the continuing contraction of the media industry.

The Los Angeles Press Club is a non-profit organization that supports, promotes and defends quality journalism in Southern California. Capital & Main is an award-winning online publication reporting from California.

About The Economic Hardship Reporting Project
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project aims to change the national conversation around both poverty and economic insecurity. The stories EHRP commissions — from narrative features to photo essays and video — put a human face on financial instability. EHRP funds and places reportage and photojournalism with news sites and magazines including The New York Times, NBC News, Politico, The Verge, Vox, Vogue, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Arkansas Times and many others.

How Fusion, The Guardian, & EHRP are changing the coverage of underreported areas, Neiman Lab writes

Equally disturbed by the state of post-election coverage, Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and Jessica Reed, features editor at the Guardian U.S., put their heads together. (Here’s more about The Guardian’s initiatives in this area.)
“73 percent of media workers are located between Virginia, New York, Boston and the West Coast. The rest of the country, ‘flyover states,’ has about 27 percent of the country’s media workers,” Quart said, citing statistics from a recent Politico report. “So the question becomes: How do we get these unheard voices amplified?”

The answer is a joint project with Reed, who helps local reporters from flyover states develop longform stories. She is eager to collaborate with their local newsrooms, so that reporters are published both internationally in The Guardian and within their own communities.

“We are really keen to unlock stories that can be read on a micro level in your small town, all the way up to an international level. We think there are tons of topics, like the public land grab that is currently happening in Montana,” she said. “We think these stories merit an international audience and a local audience. So we want to work with local editors without being patronizing. It’s not journalistic tourism, it’s about collaboration.”


Read the full article here.