Hunter College honored Joseph Gallagher with its Aronson Award for Social Justice for his reporting in The Hunts Point Express, in a ceremony on May 3 that also included awards to a group of outstanding professional journalists for far-reaching investigative reporting and commentary.
The judges praised Gallagher’s investigative reporting of federal stimulus money, which disclosed that the government’s claim that it was providing new funds to an economically-depressed neighborhood were false, and that instead, the money was just a re-branding of funds long provided to housing, health and educational organizations.
The articles highlighted the fact that funds intended to save or create jobs in Hunts Point have been difficult to obtain, leading to unfinished projects and continued unemployment.
The judges also praised his Gallagher’s articles on the controversy over tearing down the Sheridan Expressway, the dispute between Hunts Point Multiservice Center and its union and the aftermath of the fire that destroyed five stores on Southern Boulevard.
His articles were “well-written, thoroughly reported and carrying a distinct social justice perspective,” said Prof. Peter Parisi, who heads the Aronson Awards Committee, in introducing Gallagher. “He is a remarkably mature journalist.”
The awards ceremony on May 3 marked the 20th anniversary of the Aronson Awards, which have recognized some of the nation’s most important journalists.
This year’s awards went to reporters at The New York Times and the Nation and Mother Jones magazines for articles that investigated racist vigilantes attacking blacks fleeing Hurricane Katrina and the deaths of undocumented immigrants in federal custody, as well as environmental issues and sexual politics.
Gallagher is the fourth Hunts Point Express reporter to win a student Aronson Award. He plans to continue his work as a journalist at Talking Points Memo, a widely-read on-line political blog that combines breaking news, investigative reporting and analysis.
The Aronson Awards are named for the late James Aronson, a distinguished Hunter College professor of journalism who founded the crusading newsweekly the National Guardian.