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IJN wins 12 Rockower awards in Jewish journalism

The Intermountain Jewish News took home 12 American Jewish Press Association awards at the 39th annual contest.

The July 2 ceremony was held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Originally intended to take place at the AJPA’s annual conference in Atlanta, the ceremony was held via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Newly-elected AJPA President Alan Smason of the Crescent City Jewish News (New Orleans) presented.

The IJN won five first place awards, five second place awards and two honorable mentions in the categories of Excellence in Feature Writing, Writing About Seniors, Writing About Health Care, Covering Israel and Zionism, Editorial Writing, Personality Profiles, News Reporting and Writing About Women.

The full list of IJN awards is:

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, IJN Editor & Publisher:

  • Second Place, The Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary (comprised of three entries)
  1. Is there a single ethical ideal?,” July 26, 2019
  2. Coming in from a different place,” Oct. 4, 2019
  3. Yes, directly, Moses speaks to me,” Nov. 22, 2019

Andrea Jacobs, IJN Senior Writer:

  • First place, Award for Excellence in Feature Writing: “Atomic City,” Sept. 27, 2019 (L’Chaim®)

Judges called it “A lively, readable — and thoroughly researched — story that illuminates the Jewish aspect of a famous moment in American history.”

Jacobs also won an honorable mention for this story in the category Excellence in Writing About Women.

Judges commented: “Anyone who works in Jewish journalism has read and written many stories about Holocaust survivors. It can be tough to strike the right balance between treating the person as a symbol and uncovering his or her true individuality. The profile of Sara Moses did just that. It reflected the horror that Sara endured as a child, while weaving in the perspective she has gained over the decades.”

Jacobs also won a first place for this story in the category Excellence in Writing About Women.

Judges commented: “Author Andrea Jacobs brings insight, intelligence, and empathy to her revealing portrait of Rabbi Sandra Cohen, a Denver-area rabbi who has chosen to speak publicly about her struggle with bipolar disorder.

“Neither writer nor subject glosses over the punishing impact of this illness, nor the Jewish community’s need to confront the incidence of mental illness in its midst. Yet, through Jacobs’ sharp writing and skillful handling of a difficult subject, Rabbi Cohen emerges as far more than the sum of her many health issues — and as someone about whom the reader grows to care and wants to know more.”

  • Second place, Excellence in Writing about Health Care, “Gifts of life,” July 5, 2019 (Generations)

Judges commented that “The agony — and the ecstasy — of the Hepner family come alive in this beautifully written account of daughter Hannah’s struggle with kidney disease and her eventual kidney transplant, part of a complicated two-step donor process that also involved her mother’s donation of a kidney to an anonymous recipient.

“The story probes both the psychological and physical ramifications of these procedures; deftly explores the family dynamic, and explains the ins and outs of the living-donor program at the Mayo Clinic, thereby performing a public service.”

Larry Hankin, IJN Associate Editor:

One judge wrote: “I truly appreciate that the writer took a standard retirement story and transformed it into a thoughtful profile of a Jewish professional. I feel like I really got to know Neal Price. I got a sense of what has motivated him. I got a sense of his humor. I got a sense of the serendipity that he and we all feel about our lives.”

Chris Leppek, IJN Assistant Editor:

Judges call the story “a delightfully written account of a fascinating experiment in Jewish living. It read beautifully and was packed with an abundance of interesting details.”

Judges commented: This is a very complete package. It reports the current situation, advances the story and provides deep background. Very readable.”

Intermountain Jewish News Editorial Staff:

  • Second Place, Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing (comprised of three entries)
  1. Draped in the flag,” Jan. 18, 2019
  2. The ‘Jewish Nobel’ is ignoble in principle and practice,” March 1, 2019
  3. Warning: ‘The blacks are taking over,’” Sept. 6, 2019

Judges commented: “Two of the editorials had powerful messages, basically citing hypocrisy, with good reasoning. Third made a great point about a big award made to a prominent man charged with soliciting a prostitute. All three took courageous positions.”

Watch the full ceremony here:

Copyright © 2020 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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