Detroit News journalists Gregg Krupa, Francis X. Donnelly, and John Bebow have been selected print winners of the State Bar of Michigan's 30th Annual Wade H. McCree Jr. Awards for the advancement of justice for their three-part series entitled "Always Suspect: Local Arabs and the War on Terror."
The 2004 broadcast category winner was a cable TV entry about the dangers of drinking and driving produced by Sterling Heights Television and the Macomb County Bar Association by Matt Phillips, Charlie Langton, and Rick Troy.
The print entry chronicles the fear and distrust that well-intentioned federal investigations had created among Arab Americans. The series is credited with prompting the local U.S. attorney to reach out to the Arab- American community in an effort to bring both sides closer together. Reporters Gregg Krupa, John Bebow, and Francis Donnelly faced significant obstacles as they reported their project but succeeded through a painstaking review of thousands of federal and state lawsuits and criminal cases and were able to coax residents to talk.
Krupa is a senior writer who has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines for 26 years. Francis Donnelly has been with the Detroit News since 1999. He has won awards for writing and investigative reporting at the national and state level and has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize.
John Bebow joined The Chicago Tribune as a staff reporter in December last year after 13 years as a journalist in Michigan. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the Detroit News and has written about topics that range from suburban sprawl and big-city corruption, to casino development.
The winning broadcast entry, Court in Schools, is an episode from a Sterling Heights cable program called "Legally Speaking." It was first broadcast last November and has aired in 37 southeast Michigan cities and townships. Matt Phillips has won many video production awards and has been with Sterling Heights Television since December of 1997. Charlie Langton is an attorney and president of Langton and Associates, a personal injury law firm in Sterling Heights as well as TV host and legal analyst. He is also heard on WXYT 1270 on "The Charlie Langton Show," and has won awards for both television and radio work, including two Michigan Association of Broadcasting awards. Troy is the executive director of the Macomb County Bar Association where he has been promoting excellence in the legal profession and quality services to the public.
The State Bar's Law and the Media Committee, which oversees the McCree Awards, also selected four submissions from the many entries received this year for special honorable mention. The journalists honored are:
- Nolan Finley, George Bullard, and Shikha Dalmia from the Detroit News for a seven-month editorial series entitled "Losing Liberty."
- M.L. Elrick, Jim Schaefer, and Ben Schmitt from The Detroit Free Press for their investigative series on "The Detroit Mayor's Security Detail."
- Stephen W. Huber, a senior reporter and columnist for The Oakland Press for uncovering the shortcomings of the Family Independence Agency in his investigative series. His reporting prompted FIA officials to agree to join the prosecution in pursuing cases of suspected abuse and neglect.
- Darryl Q. Tucker of the Saginaw News for a two-part article about a man convicted of armed robbery nearly three decades ago, who can't get the parole board to review his case.
The president of the State Bar of Michigan, Scott S. Brinkmeyer, will present the McCree Awards during the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 17, 2004, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The McCree Awards are given each year to foster greater public understanding of the inherent values of our legal and judicial system.