2023 Dart Award Winners Announced

The 2023 Dart Awards went to The Boston Globe for “Kate Price Remembers Something Terrible” and to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ProPublica for “The Landlord & the Tenant.” Honorable Mentions went to Gimlet, a Spotify Studio, and The New York Times. A special citation went to The Washington Post.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 29th annual Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma: The Boston Globe and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ProPublica. Honorable Mentions went to Gimlet, a Spotify Studio, and The New York Times. A special citation went to The Washington Post.

The annual Dart Awards recognize outstanding reporting in all media that portrays traumatic events and their aftermath with accuracy, insight and sensitivity while illuminating the effects of violence and tragedy on victims’ lives. By tradition the Dart Award is a team prize, recognizing that in-depth coverage of trauma requires an exceptional commitment by the entire news organization.

"This year’s honorees illuminate widely varied consequences of trauma with subtlety, grace and profound journalistic integrity. And by coincidence, each honoree considers the special impact of trauma in childhood and its relationship to wider violence and inequity. This year’s honorees all insist that the story of trauma is at once urgent and complex, refusing to reduce the experiences of victims or perpetrators to cliches," said Bruce Shapiro, the Dart Center’s executive director. "This year’s Dart Award judges concluded that the American epidemic of gun violence demands a sustained journalistic response. Their special citation to The Washington Post is in the best tradition of the Dart Awards as an engine of innovation in trauma-aware reporting."

The 2023 honorees will be recognized on the evening of Thursday, October 12, 2023 at Columbia Journalism School in New York City.

The Boston Globe received the Dart Award for “Kate Price Remembers Something Terrible” (Team Members: Janelle Nanos, reporter; Erin Clark, photographer; Scott Allen, editor; Francis Storrs, editor; William Greene, photo editor; Leanne Burden Seidel, photo editor; Andrea Patiño Contreras, video producer and editor; Anush Elbakyan, video editor; Amy Pedulla, audio producer; John Hancock, design and development) which tells the story of an authority on child sex trafficking who spent decades trying to understand whether the unthinkable happened to her, too, and her 10-year quest alongside a journalist to search for the evidence.

The judging panel described "Kate Price Remembers Something Terrible" as “remarkable,” “revelatory journalism” that addresses the “complicated nature of memory” with “great depth,” “care” and “wisdom.” They noted how both “Nanos and Price, the journalist and the survivor, are in pursuit of the same end goal – truth,” and called it an “immensely empathetic,” “unflinching” and “intelligent” piece of journalism. They also praised the “beautiful” video and other “tasteful multimedia elements," as well as the paper’s “dedication to the verification process.” Judges praised Nanos for her “enormous commitment of time, of effort, of passion,” and for “achieving a level of reporting commitment and depth that transcended drama and pathos in real tragedy.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ProPublica received the Dart Award for "The Landlord & the Tenant." (Team: Raquel Rutledge, investigative reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Ken Armstrong, investigative reporter, ProPublica; Sam Roe, editor; Nick Varchaver, editor; Alex Mierjeski, contributing reporter; Andrew Hahn, contributing reporter; Daphne Chen, contributing reporter; Mike De Sisti, photojournalist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Alex Bandoni, visuals editor, ProPublica; Anna Donlan, interactive story designer, ProPublica; Sherman Williams, assistant managing editor for photos, videos and graphics, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). The story contrasts the lives of tenant Angelica Belen and landlord Todd Brunner, using side-by-side portraiture to highlight the criminal justice system’s indefensible preconceptions, and the life-altering failures of the social safety net.

The judging panel described the story as “Dickensian in its depth, range and storytelling power,” and as “a gripping account of how two people are treated so vastly differently by the law.” They commended the team for offering a “comprehensive,” “complex,” “nuanced” tale that integrates “intergenerational trauma, longitudinal systemic failures and best intentions gone awry.” They said the “brilliance of the piece is in the details,” and called the level of reporting required “incredibly difficult,” and the writing “both dispassionate and uniquely powerful.” Judges praised Rutledge and Armstrong for providing a “masterclass in not only urban reporting but systemic reporting around trauma and injustice.”

Each winning team will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

Honorable mentions went to Gimlet, a Spotify Studio, and The New York Times. A special citation went to The Washington Post. 

Gimlet, a Spotify Studio, received an honorable mention for episodes 3 and 4 of the podcast, “Stolen: Surviving St. Michaels.” (Team: Connie Walker, host, managing editor; Ellen Frankman, supervising producer; Max Green, senior producer; Chantelle Bellrichard, producer; Anya Schultz, associate producer; Betty Ann Adam, reporter; Devon Taylor, editor; Heather Evans, contributing editor; Naomi Barr, fact checker; Emma Munger, mix engineer and composer; music from Cris Derksen and Catherine Anderson). The podcast investigates how abuse at a government-supported residential school in Canada run by the Catholic Church scarred generations of indigenous people, including the family of journalist Connie Walker. Judges called the work a “remarkably moving masterpiece," and a “testament to the power of audio.” They commended Connie Walker for providing an “intimate,” “nuanced picture of survivors struggling with the consequences of trauma,” and “interpreting it over time.” They praised Walker's “wisdom” and “grace” in “letting the story tell itself”, and in allowing survivors “the space and dignity” to tell their own stories, “both the horror and moments of strength and reflection.” They also praised Walker for “maintaining a spotlight on the effects of colonialism and trauma,” and showing how its lasting effects “reverberate through generations of colonized people.” 

The New York Times received an honorable mention for "Dying Inside: Chaos and Cruelty in Louisiana Juvenile Detention." (Team: Megan Shutzer, reporter; Rachel Lauren Mueller, reporter; David Barstow, editor; and Paul Fishleder, editor). This story and accompanying film investigates repeated abuses, overlooked complaints and a surge in suicide attempts at a detention center in Louisiana with powerful political allies. Judges described it as “an incredible, daring feat of investigative journalism,” that was “layered and scaffolded perfectly” to “let you see the tragic evidence for yourself.” They praised Megan Shutzer and Rachel Lauren Mueller for their “devotion of time to sources,” “impeccable research,” and “sensitive exploration of different types of trauma, from suicide and rape to child sexual abuse.” They called the project’s impact “phenomenal” and noted that it “sent shockwaves through the community,” “exposing the interlocking self-interest that perpetuates trauma,” and “breaking the dam of inaction.”

The Dart Awards panel awarded a special citation to The Washington Post for its ongoing reporting on gun violence in America, specifically its impact on children. (Team: John Woodrow Cox, reporter; Lynda Robinson, editor; Mike Semel, editor; Joshua Lott, photographer; Katherine Frey, photographer). “In a unique period of pervasive and escalating gun violence, this jury would like to recognize the sustained commitment of The Washington Post and reporter John Woodrow Cox for innovative, in-depth reporting on the impact of gun violence on children, families and communities, an issue that has only become more urgent and more traumatic as the country gets more soaked in guns and more politically divided. We commend Cox for his unrelenting focus and his masterful ability to find new and illuminating angles on an issue about which the general public feels considerable fatigue and helplessness. We applaud him for his deep sensitivity, compassion and unparalleled body of work that serves as a model for reporters and news organizations around the country.”

The Dart Awards, established in 1994, are administered by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia Journalism School. The Dart Awards are a team prize, recognizing that presenting in-depth journalism on these challenging subjects requires a newsroom-wide commitment. The Dart Awards consider entries from across the media spectrum, including newspaper, radio, online, multimedia, film and video.


KQED, "When the Waters Get Deep"; National Public Radio, "Grief and Grit"; The New York Times Magazine, "The Hidden Epidemic of Brain Injuries From Domestic Violence"; ProPublica, "The Night Raids"; ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, "She Wanted an Abortion. A Judge Said She Wasn’t Mature Enough to Decide."; Serial Productions, "We Were Three"; and The Washington Post, "Dying for Help."

The jury combines journalists, educators and mental health professionals.

Final Round Judges

Issac Bailey, Laventhol Visiting Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; John Barth, Principal, Creative Media LLC; Adriana Gallardo, engagement reporter, ProPublica and 2021 Dart Award Winner; Angela Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Director of the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program at the School of Psychology, University of New South Wales; Sacha Pfeiffer, correspondent, NPR’s Investigations Team.

First Round Judges

Ted Alcorn, independent journalist and Associate Professor, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Lisa Armstrong, journalist and Professor, University of California Berkeley School of Journalism; Melissa Bailey, freelance journalist; Chris Benderev, producer, This American Life and 2022 Dart Award Honorable Mention; Annelise Jolley, freelance journalist and 2022 Dart Award Winner; Susan Kaplan, broadcast journalist; Meg Kissinger, investigative reporter and author; Meg Martin, Knight-Wallace fellow, University of Michigan; Naseem Miller, senior health editor, Harvard Kennedy School’s Journalist's Resource; Steve Montiel, retired journalist; Betsy O'Donovan, assistant professor, Western Washington University; Francine Orr, staff photojournalist, Los Angeles Times and 2022 Dart Award Winner; Andrea Simakis, Director of Media Relations, Oberlin College and Conservatory and 2020 Dart Award winner; Carly Willsie, former head, Logan Nonfiction Program; Mike Walter, news anchor, CGTN-America News; Almudena Toral, executive producer for video and film, ProPublica and 2021 Dart Award Honorable Mention.