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Journalists to Discuss Katrina Coverage

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April 19, 2006 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Times-Picayune in New Orleans has been named the 2005 winner of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. The newspaper was chosen for outstanding reporting on last year’s devastating hurricane that demolished the city of New Orleans and eventually left over 1,000 people dead. 

Journalists from The Times-Picayune will speak about their coverage of Hurricane Katrina at 4 p.m. Monday, April 24, as part of the Crain Lecture Series at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Their free and public lecture will take place at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive on Northwestern's Evanston campus.

Editor Jim Amoss compared the conditions under which his reporters worked as “akin to a war zone. Reporters scribbled stories on scraps of paper… wrote by flashlight while riding in the back of a newspaper truck during the 90-minute drive from New Orleans to our makeshift quarters in the small town of Houma, La…. filed (their stories and) then returned to a city that had descended into lawlessness and chaos. … continued to report, many knowing that their homes, possessions, neighborhoods were gone…they  fired their computers from car batteries, begged the use of the few working land lines…and huddled together during sweltering, pitch-black nights.”

Medill sponsors the annual Medal of Courage to honor the journalist or journalists who best display moral, ethical or physical courage in pursuit of a story. The winner was chosen from a pool of qualified candidates. Yahoo’s “Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone” and the Washington Post's “Falling Down” by Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway were finalists.

Named in honor of Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr., the Crain Lecture Series features journalists and newsmakers discussing current events and the news business. Check the Medill School Web site at http://www.medill.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-5401 for the most up-to-date information.