The Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin announced today the recipient of the first Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting. The journalism award, created in partnership with the family of the late CBS News correspondent Morley Safer, recognizes reporting that changes how we understand the world.
The 2019 Safer Award recipient is Hannah Dreier for “Trapped in Gangland,” a series for ProPublica, jointly published in New York Magazine and the New York Times Magazine, which focused on the federal government’s bungled crackdown on the Central American gang MS-13 last year. The groundbreaking series exposed a pattern of law enforcement bias and negligence that tore apart the lives of Latino immigrants who had fled their violent Central American homelands.
The Briscoe Center presents Covering the Moon: Apollo 11 and the News Media, on display in the center’s exhibit hall. In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins captured the American imagination with their successful voyage to the the surface of the moon. Television networks invested heavily to cover this watershed moment in history, bringing the crew of Apollo 11 into the living room of millions of Americans, an event that has remained etched in America’s cultural memory. The center’s news media archives include the papers of Walter Cronkite and CBS senior producer Robert Wussler, as well as those of other journalists, producers, and communication professionals who covered the moon landing.
The Briscoe Center has acquired the photographic archive of Mike Maple, a photojournalist who specializes in documentary photography. Maple has covered all manner of social issues in America over a forty-year career. In addition, he has worked around the world for major dailies and magazines, photographing presidents, musicians, and sporting icons.
June 6, 1944: Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy, launching a long-awaited invasion of Nazi-occupied France. CBS listeners learned of the invasion from Robert Trout, who covered the its first crucial days from CBS Studio 9 in New York. Events unfolded so quickly that Trout was forced to improvise from teletype and shortwave bulletins. He took to the microphone 35 times in 24 hours. One particular stretch lasted for more than seven hours. No wonder he garnered the nickname, “the iron man of radio.” The audio clip below is from one of his earliest reports on June 6. At the time, only German radio was reporting “an invasion.” At the time, no formal announcement had been made by Allied forces. Trout warned listeners it might all be a ruse.
The Briscoe Center has announced five finalists for the first Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting. The award, created in partnership with the family of the late CBS News correspondent Morley Safer, recognizes a story or series of stories that reflects Safer’s journalistic legacy.
“We are delighted to have such an exceptionally worthy group of finalists for the inaugural Morley Safer Award,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “Our jury panel faced a difficult challenge in selecting these five finalists from the many excellent submissions.”
The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of Rod Nordland, an award-winning correspondent for the New York Times. Currently based in Afghanistan, where he serves as the Times’s Kabul bureau chief, Nordland has worked as a foreign correspondent across the world, including postings in Bangkok, Beirut, Baghdad, Cairo, Rome, Sarajevo, San Salvador, Islamabad, and London. He is the author of The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet, which tells the true story of Zakia and Ali, an Afghan couple who eloped and then escaped their community’s violent reaction.
Thanks to all those who applied. First impressions: this is an outstanding crop of work. Jurors will meet later this spring to select finalists. An announcement will follow in May. The Morley Safer Award recipient will be honored at a lunch in Manhattan on October 18. More to follow.
The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of award-winning news producer and investigative journalist Steve Singer.
L-R: Singer on assignment in northern Thailand, 1981; New Mexico, 1979; Mexico City, 1982. Steve Singer Papers.
“I’m grateful to Steve for donating his papers,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “His exceptionally varied career—having worked for the Houston Chronicle, PBS, CBS, ABC News, CNN, and ESPN—will help scholars and students understand the connections across America’s news media landscape in new and distinctive ways.”
Austin, TX—The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting announces its inaugural call for entries. A program of The University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History, where Safer’s archival papers are preserved, the Safer Award seeks to recognize a story or series of stories of creativity, vision and integrity. Applicants have until midnight on February 28, 2019, to submit their entries through this site.
“This is Robert Trout in Paris with a dimension on that popular pastime, rioting”
Robert Trout wasn’t a fan of the Parisian students who resisted and persisted in May 1968, nor of the police with whom they tussled. Together, they made his grocery man late and closed his favorite restaurants. The sting of tear gas made getting home a chore — you had to cover your face “like the bad guy, the bandit in an old style Western movie,” as he put it to his radio listeners. And that was if one could get home. Once during “Mai ’68,” Trout was stuck in Paris traffic for so long the people in front of him started playing chess on the hood of their car.
Trout’s press pass for an international conference in Paris, 1968. Robert Trout Papers.