Press Releases

NAMI Announces Annual Media Awards for "Fair, Accurate, Sensitive" Reporting on Mental Illness

Louisville Courier-Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Omaha World Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Macon Telegraph Applauded For "Laying Foundation" For Presidential Commission

Jun 21 2002

Arlington, VA - The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) today announced its annual Outstanding Media Awards for fair, accurate, and sensitive reporting editorials and features about mental illness that have contributed to public support for improvement of the nation's mental health care system.

Awards will be presented at NAMI's annual convention, June 26-30, 2002, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Charles Curie, Administrator of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Michael Hogan, chairman of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recently appointed by President Bush, will participate in discussions of potential reforms.

"We honor these news media and reporters for their professionalism and getting the stories of mental illness right," said NAMI executive director Richard C. Birkel. "During much of the last year, they helped lay the foundation for the challenge now being addressed by the President's Commission. They have defined issues and cleared a path for dialogue and action."

In some cases, the work of honorees relates directly to policy issues scheduled for discussion in convention sessions. Other awards will be presented at the convention banquet on Saturday, June 29.


  1. Outstanding Editorial Writing - Minneapolis Star Tribune - Kate Stanley for numerous editorials over the past year that have helped to focus public debate on challenges faced by people with severe mental illnesses. In 2001, NAMI honored the Los Angeles Times in this category, which subsequently received this year's Pulitzer Prize for its focus on mental illness.
  2. Outstanding Investigative Reporting - Louisville Courier-Journal - Sara Shipley and Jim Adams-for the series "Locked in Suffering: Kentucky's Jails and the Mentally Ill" (February-March 2002). Ms. Shipley now writes for the St. Louis Globe Democrat.
  3. Outstanding News Feature Series:
    • Macon Telegraph - Don Schanche, Jr.for "Making Mental Illness A Crime" (January-February 2002)
    • Omaha World - Herald-Jeremy Olson for "Trust Betrayed: Failing Our Mentally Ill Children" (January 2002)
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Steve Twedt for "It's A Crime How Mentally Ill Teens Are Trapped in Lock-Ups" (July 2001)
  4. Outstanding Science & Health Reporting - Newsweek - Sharon Begley for "The Mystery of Schizophrenia: From Andrea Yates to A Beautiful Mind; The Faces of a Tragic Disease" (Cover story, March 11, 2002). Ms. Begley now writes for The Wall Street Journal.
  5. Outstanding News Feature - Television ABC's Nightline - Producer Joe O'Connor for "A Troubled Mind" (March 22, 2002) about people living with schizophrenia. In the category of dramatic media, NAMI will honor two movies for realistic portrayals of mental illness that have contributed to the elimination of stigma and greater public understanding:
  6. Special Award to A Beautiful Mind for the Year's Greatest Contribution to Public Understanding of Mental lllness(Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures, and Imagine Entertainment) to be shared by John and Alicia Nash, author Sylvia Nasar, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, producer Brian Grazer, director Ron Howard, actor Russell Crowe and actress Jennifer Connelly. Based on the life of the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and NAMI member, John Nash, the release of the Oscar-winning movie on video and DVD coincides with the NAMI convention. "We hope the release of A Beautiful Mind on video will lead to even greater discussion about mental illness among individuals, families and neighbors," Birkel said. "Educational institutions and courses also may be able to use it for discussion groups."
  7. Outstanding Television Drama - My Sister's Keeper - A Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation on CBS (January 2002) to Don Hall, Jr., CEO, Hallmark, Inc; Ron Lagomarsino, director; and actresses Kathy Bates and Elizabeth Perkins.