by Lindsay Beyerstein
How our blog got its name
Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”
Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.
It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.
Clear It With Sidney
Tonight, the Sidney Hillman Foundation will honor Heather "Digby" Parton with the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism. Digby's blog Hullabaloo has been a fixture in the progressive blogosphere for over a decade. Digby has eloquently opposed injustice and incompetence on issues ranging from the invasion of Iraq to the widening chasm between rich and poor in America. Whatever the topic, Digby approaches her work with a level head and a big heart.
I will give the last word to Kathleen Geier of the Washington Monthly, "Since she’s the best daily political writer in America, an honor of this sort is the least we can do for her. Congrats to Digby and to the Hillman people for making such an awesome choice. Now and forever: What. Digby. Said!"
[This is the final installment in a series of profiles of the 2014 Hillman Prize winners. The winners will be honored tonight at a ceremony at the Times Center in Manhattan. Doors open at 6pm. The twitter hashtag for the event is #Hillman2014.]
Congratulations to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Bud Bultman, Roni Selig, Melissa Dunst Lipman, Carl Graf, and Saundra Young on their Hillman 2014 win for the groundbreaking documentary, "Weed: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports." Watch it in full online.
Gupta is the chief medical correspondent for CNN and host of the cable network’s weekend medical affairs program “Sanjay Gupta, M.D.” A practicing neurosurgeon, he reports on health and medical news on various CNN programs and documentaries.
For more than a year, Dr. Gupta and his team travelled the world taking a critical look at the science and research surrounding the use of cannabis. Obtaining numerous exclusive television interviews with experts and families, “Weed” changed the national dialogue on this subject and fostered an unprecedented intersection between world-class science, tremendously needy patients and the ethics surrounding the use of this plant as a medicine.
This is another in a series of profiles of the winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes. These prizes honor journalism in service of the common good. Follow us on twitter at @sidneyhillman. Use the twitter hashtag #Hillman2014 to find out the latest buzz on the Hillman Prizes, including our upcoming awards ceremony on May 6 at the New York Times Center. Use #Hillman2014 to tag your tweets about the Hillman Prizes. We want to hear from you!
The Best of the Week's News
- The adjunct faculty at Howard University voted by a margin of over 90% to join a union, making Howard the first historically black university with unionized adjuncts.
- It sounds like an urban legend: A woman finds a plea for help from a prison laborer in China stitched inside her Saks 5th Avenue shopping bag. But DNAinfo tracked the author down and authenticated the letter.
- How vaccine denialism in the U.S. is killing kids in Brazil.
- How did Afghanistan's "Torturer in Chief" end up living in a pink house outside Los Angeles?
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
Craig Welch and Steve Ringman have won the 2014 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism for "Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn," published by the Seattle Times and supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
The pair travelled the world to document the toll of ocean acidifcation, a little known but devastating side effect of climate change that threatens coral reefs, fisheries, jobs, and food supplies worldwide.
Welch's elegant science writing and Ringman's arresting photos depict what acidifcation has already done to the Pacific and point to an even more dismal future if action is not taken. Their reporting was enriched by innovative web-based features and social media outreach.
To report a story that is taking place largely underwater, Welch and Ringman became certified scuba divers, despite having no prior diving experience.
Welch has been covering the environment for the Seattle Times for 14 years, garnering several journalism awards. He is the author of the book Shell Games. Ringman is a 20-year veteran of the Times. His award-winning coverage of the renewal of the Elwa River became part of the book Elwa: A River Reborn.
This is another in a series of profiles of the winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes. These prizes honor journalism in service of the common good. Follow us on twitter at @sidneyhillman, Craig Welch at @CraigAWelch, and Steve Ringman at @sringman. Use the twitter hashtag #Hillman2014 to find out the latest buzz on the Hillman Prizes , including our upcoming awards ceremony on May 6 at the New York Times Center. Use #Hillman2014 to tag your tweets about the Hillman Prizes. We want to hear from you!
Jonathan Cohn is the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism for "The Hell of American Daycare," a feature story in The New Republic that uncovered a national pattern of unregulated, dysfunctional, and dangerous daycares. Cohn tells the story of a young mother from Houston who lost her 1-year-old daughter in a fire at an unlicensed facility. Like many working poor parents, the woman was forced to send her child to a substandard daycare because she couldn't afford anything else.
Cohn is a senior editor at The New Republic and the author of Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis. He shared the 2010 Hillman Prize for Blog Journalism for his coverage of health care reform.
This is another in a series of profiles of the winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes. These prizes honor journalism in service of the common good. Follow us on twitter at @sidneyhillman and Jonathan Cohn at @citizencohn. Use the twitter hashtag #Hillman2014 to find out the latest buzz on the Hillman Prizes , including our upcoming awards ceremony on May 6 at the New York Times Center. Use #Hillman2014 to tag your tweets about the Hillman Prizes. We want to hear from you!
Pat Beall is the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Newspaper Journalism for her coverage of prision privatization for the Palm Beach Post. Beall compiled 13 years of national data on private prisons, documenting a decade’s worth of squalor, violence and abuse that stemmed from a pattern of hiring too few guards or guards with little experience. Some guards came to the job with criminal histories; others committed crimes while still on the job. The Post’s comprehensive list of major prisoner abuse, published online as an interactive map, is the only one of its kind.
Beall's 8-month investigation exposed the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council as a major proponent of prison privatization. She also discovered that, despite what the public had been told, privatization wasn't saving taxpayer money.
Beall is an investigative reporter with the Palm Beach Post. Prior to joining the Post, she was the editor of the Orlando Business Journal, which racked up over 300 journalism awards under her leadership.
This is another in a series of profiles of the winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes. These prizes honor journalism in service of the common good.
Use the twitter hashtag #Hillman2014 to find out the latest buzz on the Hillman Prizes and the upcoming awards ceremony on May 6 at the New York Times Center. Use #Hillman2014 to tag your tweets about the Hillman Prizes. We want to hear from you!
- With both local abortion clinics shuttered by H.B. 2, women in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas are running out of options.
- 2013 Hillman Prize-winner Shane Bauer is crowdsourcing the funds to spend a year investigating the U.S. prison system.
- "Penny a Pound" surcharge bears fruit for farm workers in Florida's tomato fields.
- Football players at Northwestern vote today on whether to form a union.
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
In his Hillman Prize-winning book, Fear Itself, Ira Katznelson argues that the New Deal was a deal with various devils. In order to save America's foundering democracy--and usher in the progressive reforms of the New Deal--Franklin Roosevelt had to ally himself with various anti-democratic factions including the racists of the Jim Crow South.
The South was adamant that the New Deal could not threaten segregation, and Roosevelt played along, allowing the South to effectively shut its black citizens out of the benefits of the New Deal. Fear Itself forces us to confront the hidden history of racism at the heart of one of the most beloved progressive initiatives in U.S. history.
Writing in the New York Times, Kevin Boyle praised the book's thesis as a "powerful argument, swept along by Katznelson’s robust prose and the imposing scholarship that lies behind it."
Katznelson is Columbia University’s Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History and the author of When Affirmative Action Was White.
We are very proud to honor Katznelson with this year's Hillman Prize for Book Journalism.
The wait is over! Meet the brilliant, brave, committed, creative winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes:
- Book: Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself, Liveright Publishing Corp, a division of W.W. Norton & Co.
- Newspaper: Pat Beal, "Private Prisons: Profit, Politics, and Pain," The Palm Beach Post.
- Magazine: Jonathan Cohn, "The Hell of American Daycare," The New Republic.
- Broadcast: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Bud Bultman, Roni Selig, Melissa Dunst Lipman, Carl Graf, Saundra Young, "Weed: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," CNN.
- Web: Craig Welch & Steve Ringman "Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn," The Seattle Times.
- Opinion & Analysis Journalism: Digby aka Heather Parton, Hullaballoo.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Tomorrow, we will announce the winners of the 2014 Hillman Prizes. Stay tuned to learn all about this year's crop of outstanding journalists.