NAMI Announces 2003 Media Awards

National Convention In Minneapolis, June 28-July 1, 2003

Jun 12 2003

Includes 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.

Full List Of Media Award Categories & Honorees:


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

The Hours
Paramount Pictures
Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf
Written by David Hare
Directed by Stephen Daldry

Television, Dramatic Series

The District
"Criminally Insane," April 26, 2003
Craig T. Nelson as Police Chief Jack Mannion
Written by Patricia Green and Jonathan Lisco
Directed by Jim Chory

Television Documentary—Public Education

Hope on the Street
KQED-TV (San Francisco)
Michael Isip, Producer

Television Talk Show—Public Education & Service

The Marta Susana Show
"Viviendo con un enfermo mental," October 2002
Univision (Mexico City/ Miami)

Editorial Writing—Newspaper

San Antonio Express-News
Joe Holley

New Reporting—Newspaper

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.

Investigative Reporting—Newspaper

Portland Press-Herald
"Castaway Children: Maine’s Most Vulnerable Kids" by Barbara Walsh
August 18-25, 2002. Special six day series.

The Oregonian
"Out of the Shadows" by Michelle Roberts, December 29-31, 2002.
Three-day series on failures in Oregon mental health care system.

Feature Reporting—Newspaper

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Justice That Works," November 24, 2002, by Jenni Bergal.

Arizona Republic
"Guadalupe culture vital to health care" and "Focusing on minorities’ mental health," August 17, 2002; and "Mental health aid may be ahead for Valley Latinos," "Cultural perceptions define perceptions define mental illness," and "Mental health study focusing on Hispanics," August 19, 2002, by Jodie Snyder and Susie Steckner.

San Antonio Express-News
"Pain Relief: Woman with depression says electroshock therapy saved her life," July 8, 2002; "Portrait of a lady," August 11, 2002; and "A new beginning: newlyweds find happiness and hope after surviving multiple losses and long battles with mental illness," September 3, 2002, by Mariana Pisano.

Health & Medicine—Weekly News Magazine

U.S. News & World Report
"The Demons of Childhood: Young Brains Break, Then Comes the Broken Care System," November 11, 2002,
by Marianne Szegedy-Mazak.

Health & Medicine—Newspaper

Baltimore Sun
"Finding the Light in the Shadows; It is Like Being Buried Alive" and "Ongoing Battle to Control Depression,"  June 2-3, 2002, by Linell Smith.

Sports—News Commentary and Features

Boston Globe
"Emphasis of Raiders Is Offensive," January 23, 2003 by Bob Ryan.

Denver Post
"Let’s Hope Robbins Gets Well," January 31, 2003 by Woody Paige.

"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
"Bipolar Disorder Has Forced Alonzo Spellman to Take a Frightening Journey," August 4, 2002 by Brad Parks.

Philadelphia Daily News
"The Brutal Trip Down: A tale about Alonzo Spellman, his illness, and a terrifying flight that landed him in jail," February 27, 2003 by Mark Kram.

Public Education & Service—Newspaper

El Diario (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)
"Un Mundo Aparte," "Los Olvidados de Salud" "La Batalla por Un Trato Digno," "Tragedia sobre Tragedia," "La Fe Mueve Montanas?" January 13, 2003.  An expansive 5-page Sunday feature supporting NAMI El Paso’s outreach to the Latino community for Family-to-Family Education.

Public Education & Service—Newspaper Column

The Record (Bergen County/North Jersey Media Group)
"Coping" by Theresa M. McAleavy: regular column on mental health topics.