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James Rainey wins media criticism award

April 12, 2011 |  4:53 pm

Editor Russ Stanton sent the following award announcement to the newsroom:

Congratulations to Jim Rainey, who today was named the winner of the 2010 Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism by Pennsylvania State University for a series of columns about the deteriorating quality of local TV news.

The award recognizes distinguished contributions to the improvement of print and broadcast journalism through responsible analysis or critical evaluation. The judges praised Jim for shedding light on the practice by local stations of passing off paid advertisements as news, without the proper notification required under law.

“He took on an issue that deserved attention and what he did made a difference,” the judges said. “His work led to action.”

Jim’s series led to the departure of the news director of one network affiliate in Los Angeles and prompted a public interest group to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

The Bart Richards Award, presented annually by the College of Communications at Penn State, was established in 1994 in memory of a longtime Pennsylvania newspaper writer and editor who advocated for journalistic ethics and responsible community journalism.

Past winners include Columbia Journalism Review, PBS’ “Frontline,” Byron Calame of the New York Times and Sydney Schanberg of the Village Voice. Jim, the first Los Angeles Times journalist to win the award, will be recognized at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington next month.