The Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award was established at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1959—during the heart of the civil rights movement—to honor Paul Tobenkin, The New York Herald Tribune reporter’s work and to recognize outstanding achievements in reporting on racial or religious hatred, intolerance or discrimination in the United States.
The award honors the reporting of stories which ferret out instances of racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. Authors may submit a portfolio of single articles or a published series.
Newsday Correspondent Bonnie Angelo received the award in 1961 for her series, “The Battle for Prince Edward, Virginia.” At the time, Prince Edward County shut down its public school system to avoid integration as ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Angelo was cited for her “well reported, well documented and researched and extremely well written series” that brought quick action by the U.S. government and aid from Long Island residents to help black students unable to attend schools.
Past awards highlighted the work of The Denver Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Reporter for racial and ethnic reporting that exposed uncovered discrimination and challenged the status quo. The Let’s Do It Better! Workshop on Journalism, Race and Ethnicity also incorporated the Tobenkin Award in its list of workshop honorees.
Members of the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism judge the entries. The award, which consists of a certificate from Columbia and $1,500 cash prize, is conferred at the school’s Journalism Day ceremony in May. The school will reimburse the winner’s expenses for traveling to and staying overnight in New York.
Watch the video of the 2014 Tobenkin Award recipient, Susan Ferriss, as she addresses the graduating class during Journalism Day.
Abi Wright, Executive Director, Tobenkin Award
Columbia University Journalism School
New York, NY 10027