FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 26, 2018
CONTACT: Karen Y. Kirksey; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Florida Bar
PARKER THOMSON AWARDS HONOR JOURNALISTS AT MONDAY CEREMONY
The Parker Thomson Awards for Outstanding Legal Journalism in Florida were presented Monday Tallahassee. The awards are presented by the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee in recognition of outstanding journalism highlighting the system of law and justice as it affects Floridians.
The Parker Thomson awards honor news stories, series, features, editorials, blogs, documentaries, columns, special sections — anything that is produced by a news organization and deals with law and lawyers, courts, law enforcement, the delivery of legal services, the effectiveness of the justice system, the work of the organized Bar or related matters. This year’s awards honored works published or produced in 2017.
Thomson, a Florida attorney since 1961, died in 2017 at the age of 85. From 1968 to 1983, he represented numerous prominent clients in First Amendment cases. Thomson argued three cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, including Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo in 1974. He won that case, helping to overturn a state law that required newspapers to allocate equal space to political candidates on the editorial pages.
Awards were presented in three categories. (First-place awards were worth $500, and second-place honors received $250. All honorees and their media outlets received plaques.):
First Prize: Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch, Miami Herald, “Fight Club”
The death of a 17-year-old boy at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center sparked one of the Miami Herald’s most intensive investigations in recent years. The six-part series cast a spotlight on a troubled juvenile justice system. “Fight Club” was also a finalist this year for a Pulitzer Prize. (Burch is now an enterprise reporter for the New York Times.)
Second Prize: Dan Sullivan, Tampa Bay Times, a series on juvenile resentencing
Dan Sullivan’s reporting showed the impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that brought judicial revisiting of life sentences imposed on juveniles, as he examined the effects on both victims and those incarcerated in their youth.