John Sandman’s 2012 investigation of online payday lenders has won a Silurian Award for best “news commentary,” the latest in a season of honors for City Limits reporters.
The Society of Silurians, a storied newspersons’ club named after a prehistoric period, traces its history to 1924 and counts Lincoln Steffans, William Randolph Hearst and John Steinbeck as former members. It said it was bestowing the award upon Sandman for “shining a light on the abuses of payday-lending services that charge exorbitant fees for customers who can least afford them.” Sandman’s work was edited by Esther Kaplan of The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, who also underwrote the piece.
City Limits is also in the running for two more major journalism awards. Jeanmarie Evelly’s in-depth story on stop-and-frisk in East New York (also supported by the I-Fund) is a finalist for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s Media for a Just Society Awards and Patrick Arden’s three-part probe of three-quarter houses is up for a Deadline Award from the city chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Arden previously won the national SPJ award for best local or regional investigation for his 2010 expose of flaws in New York City’s adoption of synthetic turf.
Earlier this year, Gail Robinson won a first prize in the national contest of the Education Writers Association for her reporting on John Dewey High in Brooklyn, while Ruth Ford’s hospital coverage and Batya Ungar-Sargon’s post-Sandy reporting were honored with Ippies. Together, they were the first honors snagged by the Brooklyn Bureau, the City Limits borough-coverage project launched in 2012.