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American Bar Association announces 2017 Silver Gavel Awards for media and the arts

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American Bar Association announces 2017 Silver Gavel Awards for media and the arts

By John Glynn

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2017 —The American Bar Association today announced its selections for the 2017 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose. 

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Work focusing on eviction, the militarization of policing, understanding landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and challenges in federal courts to state laws regulating abortion providers took top honors.

The winners are:

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, in which author Matthew Desmond tells the story of eight Milwaukee families to show that eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty and argues that decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for all Americans.

“Do Not Resist,” a documentary exploring the present and future of law enforcement in the United States, from Ferguson, Mo.,  after the death of Michael Brown to the “militarization” of police forces to the impact of new technologies. 

“More Perfect, a 5-episode radio podcast series examining landmark cases from Marbury v. Madison to Batson v. Kentucky to illuminate how the Supreme Court shapes American democracy.

“Trapped,” a television documentary that probes the impact of state TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) statutes on reproductive health clinic workers and relates how they and their lawyers challenged these laws in federal court (Whole Woman’s Health V. Hellerstedt).

ABA President Linda Klein will present Silver Gavels and honorable mentions on July 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Brooke Gladstone, managing editor and co-host of public radio’s “On the Media” is the featured speaker

The ABA will present four Silver Gavels and two honorable mentions from 156 entries received in all eligible categories — include books, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television.

No more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category.

Selection criteria include how the entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in the entry’s production.          

“The American Bar Association engages in a rigorous judging process annually to select winners of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “We congratulate all of the 2017 awardees for their extraordinary efforts to further the American public’s understanding of law.”

The association has presented these awards each year since 1958, which makes 2017 the 60th annual presentation. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes the final award decisions. To learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, go to www.ambar.org/gavelawards.

The following is a complete list of Silver Gavel winners and honorable mentions with a link to their work:

BOOKS

Silver Gavel

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”
Matthew Desmond, author
Penguin Random House/Crown Publishers
http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/247816/evicted-by-matthew-desmond/9780553447453/

Honorable Mention
“Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy”
Heather Ann Thompson, author
Penguin Random House/Pantheon Books
http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/178182/blood-in-the-water-by-heather-ann-thompson/9780375423222/

DOCUMENTARIES

Silver Gavel
“Do Not Resist”
VANISH Films
Craig Atkinson, director
Laura Hartrick, producer
http://www.donotresistfilm.com/

NEWSPAPERS

Honorable Mention
“Forsaken: Florida's Broken Mental Health System”
Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Dana Banker, managing editor
Megan O’Matz, Sally Kestin, and Stephen Hobbs, reporters
John Maines, database editor
http://projects.sun-sentinel.com/projects/forsaken/

RADIO

Silver Gavel
“More Perfect”
WNYC Studios
Jad Abumrad, executive producer, host, creator
Suzie Lechtenberg, executive producer
Kelsey Padgett, producer, reporter
Sean Rameswaram, correspondent
Tobin Low, producer
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolabmoreperfect/episodes

TELEVISION

Silver Gavel
“Trapped”
Trilogy Films
Dawn Porter, director
Marilyn Ness, producer
http://www.trappeddocumentary.com/

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews