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MAY 25, 1999

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Five Journalists receive First Amendment Award

HARTFORD – Five journalists were honored at the State Supreme Court Tuesday for outstanding coverage of the state courts. This year, journalists from the Stamford Advocate, Hartford Courant, Danbury News Times and Hartford Advocate received the annual First Amendment Award for Excellence in Judicial Reporting.

The award was established by the Judicial Branch last year to recognize the essential role that journalists fulfill in making the public aware of the work of the courts.

"The award and selection process was not designed to reward news professionals for stories that are flattering to the Judicial Branch," Chief Justice Robert J. Callahan said. " To the contrary, the selection process ensures that only well-written and documented articles or editorials that effectively inform our citizens of the role of our courts receive recognition."

This year, the awards selection committee selected the best entries in the following four categories: Commentary, Spot News, Enterprise News and Continuing News Coverage.

This year’s recipients and their winning entries are:


Joy Haenlien, The Stamford Advocate: "Need to Examine Death Penalty Fairness," June 16, 1998.

Spot News:

Lynne Tuohy , The Hartford Courant: "23-Year-Old Greenwich Investigation Gets Boost," June 18, 1998.

Edmund Mahony, The Hartford Courant, "Convict Signs Pact for Quick Death Penalty" March 12, 1998.

Enterprise News:

Jayne Keedle of the Hartford Advocate, "The Truth Could Set Them Free," October 22, 1998.

Continuing Coverage:

Karen Ali, the Danbury News Times, ongoing coverage of the Ferguson murder trial, early 1998.

A panel comprised of representatives of the media, legal, judicial and higher education communities evaluates the entries. The panelists for the 1999 award were Judge Aaron Ment of the Connecticut Judicial Branch; Professor Jerry Dunklee, President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; Maureen Croteau, Chairperson of the University of Connecticut Journalism Department; Professor Leslie Levin of the University of Connecticut School of Law; Attorney Ethel Sorokin, President of the Center for First Amendment Rights; and Chris Blake, Director of Communications for the Connecticut Bar Association.

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