Informational report to the house of delegates 2007 Program Update

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2007 Program Update. In 2007 the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards is conducting the 50th annual Silver Gavel Awards competition. Eligible categories are newspapers, magazines, books, theater, television, radio, film/video, and new media. The awards recognize exemplary media efforts to foster the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. In the past 5 years, 23 of the top 25 circulation daily newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Boston Globe), virtually every one of the major TV networks (including ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS) and most of the leading trade and university-press book publishers have submitted entries.
Awards Presentation/Policy Subcommittee Meeting. ABA President Karen Mathis is presenting the 2007 Silver Gavel Awards at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on July 24. To highlight honorees and their efforts, we will produce an audiovisual presentation featuring interviews with key contributors and a comprehensive program booklet. On July 25, the Gavel Awards Policy Review Subcommittee will meet in Washington, DC. Among the issues under consideration are how, in light of changes in media, law, and society, the Standing Committee might modify award categories in order to improve our outreach, both in terms of the quality and quantity of entries. Serving with me on the subcommittee are the following Standing Committee members: Louise Rosen Byer, Mark Curriden, Alan Kopit, and Tony Vittal.
2007 Awards Selection. The 45-member Gavel Awards Screening Committee completed its review of entries during a set of 15 conference calls, held between March 12-15, and at a final March 16-17 meeting at the ABA offices in Chicago. We received 223 total entries in the following categories: 61 newspaper, 14 magazine, 94 books, 30 television, 12 radio, 2 film/video, and 10 new media. This represents a 12% increase over 2006, when we received a total of 198 entries. The 94 book entries are an all-time high. The Screening Committee identified 25 finalists for further consideration by the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards, which conducted its final judging meeting at the ABA offices in Chicago May 11-12. Fourteen members attended. The Standing Committee selected the following award winnerse:



Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York; Joseph Margulies, Author


“Nobody’s Hero,” 5280: Denver’s City Magazine, Denver, Colorado; Maximilian Potter, Writer

New Media, King County Bar Association and 19 Co-sponsoring Organizations; Seattle, Washington; Paul Fjelstad, Web Designer; John R. Ruhl, President, King County Bar Association; and Charles K. Wiggins, President, American Judicature Society—Washington Chapter (Click on “2006 Archives” Tab)


“Signing Statements,” The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts; Charlie Savage, Writer; Peter Canellos, Editor


“Judge Vows to Free Inmates Held Since Katrina,” National Public Radio, Washington, DC; Ari Shapiro, Justice Reporter; Barbara Campbell, Editor; Emily Ochsenschlager, Producer

Television News & Documentaries

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, Court TV and Think Film, New York, New York; Keith A. Beauchamp, Producer and Director; Edgar E. Beauchamp and Ceola J. Beauchamp, Executive Producers
The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles to the Scaffold, Pantheon Books, New York, New York; Geoffrey Robertson, Author

New Media

Conflicts on the Bench,” Center for Investigative Reporting, Berkeley, California; Will Evans, Reporter

“Debtors’ Hell,” The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts; Walter V. Robinson, Editor; Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour and Heather Allen, Reporters
“Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice,” San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, California; Fredric N. Tulsky, Projects Reporter

Television News and Documentaries

“Koppel on Discovery: The Price of Security,” Discovery Networks, U.S.; Ted Koppel, Managing Editor; Peter Demchuk and Elissa Rubin, Producer

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Slaiman, Chair

August 2007

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