April 2012 | Hillman Foundation

Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

April 2012

Announcing the 2012 Hillman Prizes

For Immediate Release:

The Sidney Hillman Foundation Announces 2012 Hillman Prizes for Excellence in Reporting in Service of the Common Good

Awards Ceremony Tuesday May 1 in New York City

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today the winners of the 2012 Hillman Prizes, given to journalists whose work identifies important social and economic issues and helps bring about change for the better.

This year, the Foundation recognized stories about the struggles of families during the recession, fairness in immigration policy, flaws in education reform, contract workers on military bases, farm workers and battered women in prison.

The Hillman Foundation will present its distinguished annual journalism prizes, awarded every year since 1950, at a ceremony and reception at The TimesCenter in Manhattan on May 1st.

This year’s winners are:

Hillman Prize in Book Journalism
Frank Bardacke
Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers, Verso Books

Hillman Prize in Opinion & Analysis Journalism

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

Hillman Prize in Newspaper Journalism

Heather Vogell, Alan Judd, John Perry
“The Atlanta Schools Cheating Scandal,” The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Honorable Mention: Danny Hakim and Russell Buettner, “Abused and Used: At State
Run Homes Abuse and Impunity,” The New York Times

Hillman Prize in Magazine Journalism
Sarah Stillman
“The Invisible Army,” The New Yorker

Hillman Prize in Broadcast Journalism
Yoav Potash
Crime After Crime,” The Oprah Winfrey Network

Honorable Mention: Anderson Cooper, “Sissy Boy Experiments,” CNN

Hillman Prize in Photojournalism
Katie Falkenberg
“A Lasting Toll,” Los Angeles Times

Honorable mention: Lara Solt, “Unending Battle,” The Dallas Morning News

Hillman Prize in Web Journalism
Seth Freed Wessler
“Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents In U.S. Deportation System,” Colorlines.com

Sol Stetin Award for Labor History
Nelson Lichtenstein
MacArthur Foundation Chair in History
Director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy
University of California, Santa Barbara
Central and influential in the field of labor history. Books include: Walter Reuther: the Most Dangerous Man in Detroit (1996) and State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (2002).

The Foundation also announced a special Officers’ Award given to activist, songwriter, and musician Tom Morello for his commitment to workers’ rights.

Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has celebrated the legacy and vision of union pioneer and New Deal architect Sidney Hillman. As founder and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, a predecessor union to Workers United, SEIU, and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Hillman is considered one of America’s greatest labor leaders. His tireless efforts to bring dignity and respect to working people left a lasting legacy for the American public.

Past winners include prominent figures in the field, as well as young journalists or publications that have yet to receive adequate recognition. Each winner receives $5,000 and a certificate drawn by Edward Sorel and lettered by Seymour Chwast.

Our distinguished panel of judges consists of Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker; Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large, The American Prospect and columnist for the Washington Post; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine; Susan Meiselas, Magnum photographer; and Rose Marie Arce, senior producer, CNN.

The award ceremony and reception will be held Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 6-9 PM, at The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York City.

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Julie Sedlis, ChangeCommunications

Not So Fast, AP: Chinese Microblogging Sites Survive Crackdown

Guest post by Jin Zhao, reprinted with permission from Things You Don’t Know About China.

March 31, 2012. This morning, Chinese government’s cracking down on websites and arresting six netizens for spreading the rumor of a military coup in Beijing became a headlining story in many major Chinese and international media. AP and The Washington Post both reported that two microblogging websites Sina Weibo and TencentWeibo were “punished” and comments have been temporarily suspended until next Tuesday. The report by both news organization, however, is not accurate.

According to Xinjing Bao, a Beijing based newspaper, the government shut down 16 websites because of their “creating and spreading rumors and negligence in management” which have resulted in “extremely negative social impact.” However, Beijing and Guangdong Internet administrative agencies only “severely criticized” Sina Weibo (based in Beijing) and TencentWeibo (based in Guangdong) and “punished them accordingly.” However, there is no information about the specifics of the “punishment.” Xinjing Bao also reports that “the two websites have agreed to abide the relevant laws, implement corrective measures, and further strengthen management.”

I tested both microblogging websites this afternoon and it appears that users can post, comment and repost microblogs as usually. As to what measures the websites are going to implement to “strengthen” their management, I haven’t seen any signs of stricter censorship or blockage.

It is possible that the commenting and reposting functions on weibo sites were suspended and recovered shortly, for some netizens have complained the blockage of comments on these sites. A journalist posted in the group “Chinese Journalists” on Sina Weibo, criticizing the government for “fabricating a harmonious society.” “It’s fine that you (the government) are shameless,” he wrote, “but what makes you really shameless is to block weibo‘s comments.”

It is still unclear what is going to happen to these websites. It will be hard for the government to flat-out close or directly censor these websites largely because of economic reasons. Moreover, like the journalist mentioned earlier, many Chinese are no longer willing to accept whatever imposed on them, and those who see weibo a freer and more open space for information sharing and public debate, many of whom are opinion leaders in China, will not let it to be smothered without a fight.


April 1, 1:15 PM EST – As of now, Sina Weibo disabled commenting, but still allows reposting. On Sina Weibo, a message says when one clicks on “comments”: “From March 31, 8 PM, to April 3, 8 PM, commenting is suspended temporarily. We apologize for the inconvenience.” The reason for suspension, according to Sina Weibo, is so that website can “cleanse” the website of “harmful” and “illegal” information.

On Tencent Weibo, it seems commenting and reposting are both still functioning.

[Photo credit: BWJones, Creative Commons.]