May 14, 2008
Contact:
Laura Perloff, NPR

   

NPR NEWS DOCUMENTARY EXAMINING
CRIME AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
AT FEMA TRAILER PARK FOR KATRINA VICTIMS
HONORED WITH ROBERT F. KENNEDY JOURNALISM AWARD

Journalists Alix Spiegel and Anne Gudenkauf Recognized



May 14, 2008; Washington, D.C. – An NPR News half-hour documentary that revealed mental health issues and crime plaguing a Southern Mississippi FEMA trailer park housing Katrina victims has been honored with a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. The award will be presented at a ceremony on May 27, 2008 at the Newseum, the new museum celebrating journalism in Washington, D.C.

Named for the award are NPR National Desk Reporter Alix Spiegel and Science Desk Senior Supervising Editor, Anne Gudenkauf. The documentary aired August 8, 2007 on All Things Considered; it is available for free audio streaming at www.NPR.org (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12600689)
and has additional online content.

The documentary previously was chosen by the Scripps Howard Foundation with its National Journalism Award in the “Radio Category” earlier this year.

The report examined Scenic Trails, a small trailer park about 30 minutes from Biloxi that provides housing for 100 families displaced by Katrina. The onetime commercial campground is considered by local law enforcement to be “one of the least troubled” FEMA housing locations. Yet its residents are struggling with numerous health and safety problems: methamphetamine and cocaine addiction, depression and suicidal tendencies, animal cruelty and overwhelming property crime. The documentary brought an intimate, human perspective to a study released at that time outlining extensive mental health and crime problems at FEMA-run trailer parks for Katrina evacuees.

Spiegel, who previously reported for NPR’s Science Desk, has covered such topics as marriage, families and Katrina recovery. She was honored with a 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for her story about a Muslim family living in New Jersey facing discrimination after 9/11, reported for the public radio program This American Life.

Gudenkauf is the head of NPR's award-winning Science Desk, which covers science, medicine, technology, the environment and public policy for all NPR news programs. She has supervised the desk since its inception in 1980.

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award honors the outstanding reporting of the lives and strife of disadvantaged people throughout the world. Led by a committee of six independent journalists, the Awards are judged by more than 50 journalists each year. It is presented by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial.