The Dallas Bar Association honored the best legal news reporting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Oct. 19, as it hosted the 32nd Annual Stephen Philbin Awards at the Belo Mansion.
In selecting the winners, judges consider educational value, accuracy, resourcefulness, as well as the journalist’s initiative in pursuing the story and the story’s contribution to public debate.
Taking home the Metropolitan/Statewide Series of Articles was Lance Winter, Weatherford Star-Telegram, for his series "Reflections of Vietnam."
Additional winners include:
▪ Electronic Media News/Feature: Mark Curriden, Texas Lawbook, for his article "The Evolving State of Texas Law Firms."
▪ Metropolitan/Statewide Spot News: Angela Morris, Texas Lawyer, for her article, "Governor Perry’s Legal Defense Costs Breach $1 Million."
▪ Magazine Feature Article: Michael Hall, Texas Monthly, for his article "Richard LaFuente is Finally Free."
▪ Metropolitan/Statewide Newspaper Feature: Kevin Krause and Ed Timms, The Dallas Morning News, for their article "Firms Giant and Small."
▪ Radio/Television News Report: the WFAA-TV team of Tanya Eiserer, Greg Johnson and Jason Trahan, for their report "DA Investigation."
▪ Suburban Newspaper Article: Lauren Aguirre, The Daily Campus, for her article "Sept. 17 on-campus sexual assault case closed under Title IX, still an open criminal investigation."
Taking home this year’s grand prize award was the team of Selwyn Crawford, Diane Jennings and Sarah Mervosh, of The Dallas Morning News, for their series "Deadly Affection." The reporters tallied every domestic violence death in a four-county area, making The Dallas Morning News the first local organization to do so. Their stories explained how such cases are handled in the courts and showed the devastating effect of the crimes. In response, Dallas County began confiscating guns from domestic abusers. Shelters saw a jump in calls for help. In one case, a man sought help to curb his abusive behavior.
The Philbin Awards were established in 1983 in honor of Stephen Philbin, an active member of the Dallas Bar Association and a leading authority on media law, who lost his battle with leukemia in 1982. Winning entries are selected by a panel of judges, which included H. Brian Holland, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law; and Camile Kraeplin, Associate Professor, Division of Journalism, Southern Methodist University.
Ambassador Robert Jordan, Diplomat in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Political Science in the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University, was the keynote speaker for this year’s Philbin Awards Luncheon, which included an audience of more than 200 lawyers, judges and journalists.