Side Effects Public Media was honored this month for its coverage of mental health, the opioid crisis and other public health issues throughout 2018.
Four Side Effects reporters from WFYI/Indianapolis were named Journalists of the Year by the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Lauren Bavis, Emily Forman, Araceli Gómez-Aldana and Jake Harper were announced as winners at a Friday ceremony in Indianapolis.
This is the first time a group of journalists has been honored with the award rather than a single reporter.
The judges said of the team’s work, “The stories were compelling and easy to follow, interesting, surprising, informative and sometimes sparked outrage and made me want to know more or even get involved. They presented facts backed up by lots of research data statistics and ‘translated’ them into a well-presented story summarizing their findings so we don't have to trudge through the mud of dusty data ourselves and take the time to figure out what it all means. They humanize the medical and technical issues by using actual first-person quotes and quotes from an official or expert.”
Reporters Bavis and Christine Herman won four other awards in state contests:
Best Enterprise Story, Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association -- Bavis for "Why Firefighters Say the Law That Should Protect Them After a Cancer Diagnosis Isn’t Working”
Second Place, Best Feature, Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association -- Bavis for "How an Indiana Theater Made a Holiday Favorite Autism Friendly"
Best Hard News Feature, Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association -- Herman for "Out of Options, Parents Trade Custody for Treatment"
Best Series, Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association -- Herman for "Continuing Mental Health Coverage"
In the Indiana SPJ contest, Side Effects and WFYI also won second place in Medical/Science Reporting for TV for "The High Cost of Insulin." Recipients were Kyle Travers, Bram Sable-Smith, Chris Elberfeld, Vincent Manganellio and Andy Young.
Earlier this month, Side Effects won a regional Edward R, Murrow award for the multimedia presentation of The Workaround. The award from the Radio Television Digital News Association went to Christine Herman, Jake Harper, Bram Sable-Smith, Esther Honig, Emily Forman and Sarah Fentem.