National Alliance on Mental Illness
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For Immediate Release: June 12, 2003
NAMI ANNOUNCES 2003 MEDIA AWARDS
National Convention in Minneapolis, June 28-July 1, 2003Includes Focus on National Football League. San-Antonio Express-News, Deseret News, Portland Press-Herald, Arizona Republic, Denver Post, Boston Globe & Others Win Honors
Arlington, VA -- The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) today announced the winners of its Outstanding Media Awards for 2003, presented annually to editors, producers, reporters, writers or actors who address issues or themes involving mental illness with accuracy, fairness, and compassion.
During the past two years, Pulitzer Prizes in editorial writing and investigative reporting have been awarded to newspapers for work first honored by NAMI. Two major motion pictures dealing sensitively with mental illness also have won Academy Awards—a trend which NAMI national executive director Richard C. Birkel called "an encouraging step forward in fighting stigma in the entertaiment industry."
"Last year it was A Beautiful Mind, this year Nicole Kidman in The Hours. Hollywood is beginning to show people with mental illness as complete individuals, who live with dignity and courage and face difficult choices."
"The fact that Pulitzer Prizes have gone to works focused on mental illness demonstrates increasing concern over the legacy of neglect, abandonment and abuse that too often has marked the mental health system. "We hope the President and Congress, governors, state legislators and other leaders will take notice.There is growing public awareness of the need for change."
Awards will be presented in Minneapolis on July 1, 2003 as part of a multimedia convention banquet program. NAMI’s Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor, will be given posthumously to the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN). Last year, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune also was honored for editorial advocacy.
The San Antonio Express-News will receive honors for both editorial and feature writing, while Salt Lake City’s Deseret News will receive NAMI’s award for news reporting for breaking news coverage of the rescue of Elizabeth Smart—which was a model for the nation in addressing difficult issues related to homelessness, mental illness, and religious delusions.
Maine’s Portland Press-Herald and U.S. News & World Report will be honored for coverage of children in the mental healthcare system—which helped to spur Congressional action and a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report on states that require parents to relinquish custody of their children in exchange for treatment.
Three honorees focused on the needs of Hispanic communities: the Arizona Republic, El Diario of Ciudad Juarez/El Paso, and Univision’s Marta Susana Show.
One of the biggest stories of the year involved the National Football League, when Oakland Raider center Barrett Robbins was unable to play due to a relapse of bipolar disorder. For the first time, NAMI has added sports news and commentary to its media award categories: honoring The Boston Globe and The Denver Post for their coverage of the Barrett Robbins story.
"The response of sportswriters in defending Robbins against stigma and educating fans about the realities of mental illness was tremendous," said Birkel. In addition, the Newark Star-Ledger and Philadelphia Daily News will be honored for coverage of former Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions lineman Alonzo Spellman’s struggle with bipolar disorder.
Ironically, NAMI’s highest award for courage, leadership and service by a person with mental illness also is named in memory of a former NFL player. At the convention, Hikmah Gardiner, a leader of the Older Adults Consumer Mental Health Alliance, will receive NAMI’s Lionel Aldridge award—named in honor of the former Green Bay Packer lineman who played in the 1967 Superbowl and later battled schizophrenia and homelessness.
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Full List of Media Award Categories & Honorees:
NAMI MEDIA AWARDS 2003
NAMI media awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding journalism or drama that address mental illness issues with fairness, accuracy, and compassion.
Motion Picture Drama
Television, Dramatic Series
Television Documentary—Public Education
Hope on the Street
Television Talk Show—Public Education & Service
The Marta Susana Show
San Antonio Express-News
The Deseret News (Salt Lake City)
For its breaking news coverage of the rescue of Elizabeth Smart in March 2003. It provided a model for the nation by addressing key issues—intelligently and compassionately—related to homelessness and mental illness in a case that touched many families around the world. NAMI especially commends religion editor Carrie A. Moore and reporters Elaine Jarvik, James Thalman, Linda Thompson, and Angie Welling.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
San Antonio Express-News
Health & Medicine—Weekly News Magazine
U.S. News & World Report
Health & Medicine—Newspaper
Sports—News Commentary and Features
"Mental Illness—Athletes Are Not Immune," March 9, 2003 and "Fearsome opponent: Athletes who have spent years fine-tuning their bodies, find it difficult to accept mental illness and its stigma," March 10, 2003, by Patrick Saunders.
Newark Star Ledger
Philadelphia Daily News
Public Education & Service—Newspaper
El Diario (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)
Public Education & Service—Newspaper Column
The Record (Bergen County/North Jersey Media Group)
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