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David Barstow Wins February Sidney for Story on Tea Party

Audrey Thweatt
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NEW YORK: The Hillman Foundation announced today that David Barstow has won the February Sidney award for "Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right," his searing portrait of the Tea Party movement in The New York Times. The story details how the pressures from a severe recession have melded with propaganda repeated by Glenn Beck and other right-wing broadcasters to produce broad fears of an imagined plan by the federal government to seize guns and suspend basic liberties.

Sidney Award judge Charles Kaiser said, “Barstow’s story links the Tea Party movement with militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who favor the abolition of the Federal Reserve. It is a thorough and balanced account of the disparate forces which are feeding the growth of this volatile movement across America, written by one of America’s premier investigative reporters. While there has been a considerable amount of coverage on the Tea Party movement, Barstow's piece was the most sophisticated one."

Photo Courtesy: The New York Times
Barstow, 47, shared a 2004 Hillman prize with Lowell Bergman for a series of stories examining the safety and environmental records of McWane Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of cast-iron pipes. The articles chronicled the dangerous work conditions, violations of environmental regulations, and obstruction of federal workplace investigations that were commonplace at McWane plants around the country.

Last year Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for two stories that exposed a covert Pentagon campaign to use retired military officers as analysts for television and radio networks, to reiterate administration "talking points" about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Barstow also received the 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Washington Correspondence for the series, as well as the George Polk National Reporting award. (Hillman’s Charles Kaiser discussed those stories and the networks’ failure to acknowledge or react to them with Bob Garfield for a segment of “On the Media.”)

Barstow joined the staff of the Times in 1999, and became a full-time investigative reporter in 2002. Before he worked for the Times, Barstow spent nine years at The St. Petersburg Times, where he was a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He grew up in Concord, Mass., and received a B.S. degree from Northwestern University in 1986.

The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, which also awards the annual Hillman Prizes every spring. Winners of the Sidney receive $500, a certificate designed by New Yorker cartoonist Edward Sorel, and a bottle of union made wine. Nominations can be submitted here.

Read an interview with Barstow about the piece here.



Certificate designed by Edward Sorel

The Sidney is awarded monthly to a piece published in an American magazine, newspaper, on a news site, or a blog. Television and radio broadcasts by an American news outlet are also eligible, as are published photography series.

Deadlines are the last day of each month. The piece must have been published in the month preceding the deadline. In the case of magazines, please nominate according to the issue date on the publication, not when it first appeared.

Nominations are accepted for one's own work, or for someone else's.

The Foundation will announce a winner on the second Wednesday of each month. Recipients will be awarded $500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate designed especially for the Sidney by New Yorker cartoonist, Edward Sorel.

If you wish to nominate yourself or a piece by anyone else, please click here for our nomination form.If you have any further questions about the nomination process, please send your inquiry to [email protected]