Guyana-born journalist is Pulitzer finalist
– cops 2010 Dart Award for investigative series
A Guyana-born journalist has done her former homeland proud by being a Pulitzer finalist and copping the 2010 Dart Award for a series of investigative stories about the brutal treatment meted out to inmates at a boy’s home.
Waveney Ann Moore, who writes for the St. Petersburg Times, and reporter Ben Montgomery, photographer Edmund Fountain and editor Kelley Benham, were 2010 Pulitzer finalists for local reporting. Their investigative series, “For Their Own Good,” chronicled the 100-year history of abuse at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
Their series also won the 2010 Dart Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Trauma. Moore traveled to New York to receive the Dart Award on April 27, at Columbia University.
This is the second time that Moore has been part of a team whose work has been a finalist for the prestigious Pulitzer prize. That team covered the unfolding story of the Rev. Henry Lyons, former head of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A.
The pastor eventually was sent to prison for swindling more than $5.2 million from the organisation’s corporate partners. The series was the 1998 Pulitzer finalist in the investigative category.
A few months ago, Moore wrote several stories about the pastor’s unsuccessful attempt to regain leadership of the national organisation.
The Dart Award judges called “For Their Own Good” “gripping” and “unflinching,” and applauded it for demonstrating the “profoundly deep” and “long-lasting nature of emotional wounds” that result
from physical abuse.
They praised Montgomery and Moore for their dogged reporting, commitment to telling the stories fully, and honest and evocative narrative writing that transported readers to the disturbing scenes of the crimes.
They also lauded photographer, Edmund Fountain, for his “powerful portraits that reveal the complex identities of dignified survivors and haunted souls.”
The Dart Awards are administered by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, based at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Established in 1995, the annual Dart
Awards recognize outstanding reporting that portrays traumatic events with accuracy, insight and sensitivity while illustrating the effects of trauma on victims’ lives and the process of recovery from emotional trauma.
“I am extremely honoured to have been named a Pulitzer finalist and to have won the Dart Award.” Moore told Kaieteur News.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with talented colleagues and even more so to be part of the St. Petersburg Times, a newspaper that values great journalism and provides the resources to pursue important stories.
“I would not have been able to achieve any of this without the love, example, support and sacrifices of my mother, (Mary Jordan) and my father,” (the late Walter A. Jordan).
“My only regret at this time of joy is that my father isn’t alive to share in it.
“My mother, who was in America during some of my work on the “For their Own Good’’ series, was always encouraging me. “Of course, my husband, Louis, and our daughter, Andrea, and her family always give me their unwavering support and love.”
Moore and her colleagues began working on the story of abuses at the Dozier School for Boys in October 2008.
“After an Associated Press story was published about the school in our paper, two men walked into our St. Petersburg office to say they had been abused at the school. I interviewed both of them.
“I have vivid memories of one of those men weeping in our cafeteria as he told his story. “He was first sent to the reform school when he was 10 years old. I later discovered that the other man I interviewed had been under our noses all along.
“As I escorted him to the elevator, he said hello to our chairman, chief executive officer and editor, Paul Tash. This former reform school student had worked in our cafeteria.
“After calling another former reform school student, I realized that reporter Ben Montgomery was working on the same story.
“We teamed up and the result was the series about brutal whippings and other abuses that occurred at the North Florida school in the 1950s and ’60s, the atrocities before and since, and their dreadful repercussions on the lives of former students, their wives, children, other relatives and the general public.”
Moore, a former Bishops High School student, recalled that she has always been an avid reader.
After migrating to the United States, she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English and Communications from the College of New Rochelle in New York.
Her first reporting job was with the Kansas City Star, in Kansas City, Missouri. She also wrote for several gourmet food magazines.
She has been writing for the St. Petersburg Times since 1994.