Watch the five-o'clock news, listen to your favorite news talk radio station or read the daily newspaper, many people rarely question the reporter's interpretation of the news. The Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) recognizes that the media has a large influence on the public's understanding of the law and the American justice system. Every year, MSBA rewards journalists who enhance the public's understanding of the law through its annual Gavel Awards competition.
The 2001 Gavel Awards are no exception. A panel of independent judges from the fields of law and journalism reviewed entries from several categories in the television, radio, and print media. Those entrants who most successfully combined originality, creativity, and educational value to the public’s understanding of the law were determined the winning entries.
This year, MSBA will present six first place awards and five-second place awards. First place winners in the newspaper field include Caitlin Francke of The Baltimore Sun for her article, "Tough Gun Law - Timid Enforcement”; Larry Rulison of The Baltimore Business Journal for his piece, "Slowing the Tap”; Columbia Flyer reporter, Mary Robbins for her submission "One Victim’s Life Sentence”; Rob Terry of Washington Techway Magazine for his piece, “Tech Courts on Trial.” And in the field of television broadcast, first place winners included WJZ Television Channel 13 reporter, Suzanne Collins for her broadcast, "Illegal Gun Buys” and Harford Cable Network producer, Robert Lidke for his broadcast, “Behind the Badge.”
Second place winners in the newspaper field include Joe Surkiewicz of The Daily Record his article, “No Funds, No Computers and No Justice”; Mark Celender of The Montgomery Gazette for his piece, “Judicial Elections Just a Façade of Democracy”; and Cooky McClung of The Kent News for her submission, “Domestic Abuse Leaves Scar on Eastern Shore.”And in the field of television broadcast, there was a tie for second place, WJZ Channel 13 Television reporter, Dick Gelfman for his broadcast, “Courthouse Conditions” and WBFF Fox 45 Television reporter, John Rydell for his broadcast, “Jury Reform.”
The 2001Gavel Awards will be presented during the MSBA's Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland at the Clarion Resort Hotel (formerly the Sheraton) on Saturday, June 16, 2001.