Law in Popular Culture

Silver Gavel Awards go to works featuring Emmett Till, Roe v. Wade

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This year’s recipients of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts delve into a multitude of pressing and prominent legal issues, including abortion rights, affirmative action and modern-day slavery.

The ABA announced Wednesday that it would present nine Silver Gavel Awards—which recognize outstanding work that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system—to finalists in the books, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television categories. The association also announced that it would award five honorable mentions.

The ABA selected its winners from the 30 finalists recognized in March. In total, the association received 165 entries this year.

“The American Bar Association has completed its deliberative and careful review of each of the outstanding finalists,” said Lisa Bail, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards, in a May 24 press release. “The selected winners of the Silver Gavel Awards have produced exceptional work that advances public understanding of the law and the justice system. We congratulate each of the awardees on this well-deserved recognition.”

The Silver Gavel Awards have been presented each year since 1958, according to the press release. The 16-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes the final award decisions.

ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross will present the awards and honorable mentions July 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event is free to the public and will also be livestreamed.

Here is the complete list of winners:


Silver Gavel: The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City by Nicholas Dawidoff; W.W. Norton & Company


Silver Gavel:The Maddening Irrelevance of Charlie Vaughn’s Innocence”: The Watch; Radley Balko, independent journalist


Silver Gavel: When Claude Got Shot: 371 Productions; Brad Lichtenstein, director; Steven Cantor, Brad Lichtenstein, Jamie Schutz, producers; Snoop Dogg, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Leslie Fields Cruz, Geralyn Dreyfous, Ted Chung, executive producers; Patty Quillin, co-executive producer; Santana Coleman, co-producer; Michelle Chang, editor; Colin Sytsma, director of photography; Vernon Reid, original music; Noland Walker, consulting producer; Shana Swanson, supervising producer

Honorable Mention: American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton: Open Eye Pictures; Lise Pearlman, producer; Abby Ginzberg and Robert Richter, co-producers; Andrew Abrahams, co-director, producer, principal DP, editor; Herb Ferrette, co-director

Honorable Mention: The Lost Story of Emmett Till: NBC 5 Chicago (WMAQ-TV), Collaboraction Theatre Company; Marion Brooks, NBC Chicago, anchor and investigative reporter; DS Shin, NBC Chicago, photographer/editor; Tom Jones, NBC Chicago, investigative producer; Lauren Stauffer, NBC Chicago, managing editor; Lisa Balde, NBC Chicago, vice president of digital media; Akemi Harrison, NBC Chicago, assistant news director; Frank Whittaker, NBC Chicago, vice president of news; Kevin Cross, NBC Chicago, general manager; Saudia Davis, Collaboraction, executive director; Carla Stillwell, Collaboraction, producer; Marquis Simmons, Collaboraction, assistant director and associate producer; Pricilla Torres, Collaboraction, associate producer; Anthony Moseley, Collaboraction, artistic director; Dana N. Anderson, Collaboraction, co-director; G. Riley Mills and Willie Round, Collaboraction, co-writers of adaptation


Silver Gavel: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez; Penguin Random House

Honorable Mention: Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till: Collaboraction Theatre Company and NBC 5 Chicago; Anthony Moseley, Collaboraction, producer/director/co-producer; Gary Mills, Collaboraction, co-writer; Willie Round, Collaboraction, co-writer; Carla Stillwell, Collaboraction, producer; Dana N. Anderson, Collaboraction, co-director; Marion Brooks and Lauren Stauffer, NBC Chicago, producers; DS Shin, NBC Chicago, editor


Silver Gavel:The Rogue Court that Paved the Way for Roe’s Demise”: Texas Monthly; Michael Hall, writer/executive editor


Silver Gavel:Eavesdropping in Maine Jails”: The Maine Monitor; Samantha Hogan, reporter; Eric Conrad and David Dahl, editors; George Harvey, multimedia editor; Hal Madsen, copyeditor; Rose Ciotta, Investigative Editing Corps, editor


Silver Gavel:Captive No More: One SC Man’s Journey to Freedom After Years in Modern-Day Slavery”: The Post and Courier; Jennifer Berry Hawes, watchdog and public service reporter; Autumn Phillips, executive editor; Glenn Smith, watchdog and public service editor; Andrew Whitaker, photojournalist; Brandon Lockett, digital graphics producer


Silver Gavel:Affirmative Action Faces Toughest Test in a Generation”: Bloomberg Industry Group; Matthew S. Schwartz, host/producer; Josh Block, editor/executive producer

Honorable Mention:The Trump Grand Jury”: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown, season nine; Bill Rankin, creator/host/writer/senior reporter legal affairs; Tamar Hallerman, host/writer/senior reporter enterprise; Shane Backler, sound engineer/producer/senior producer, podcasts & audio content; Jay Black, audio & podcast program manager; Pete Corson, digital presentation specialist


Silver Gavel:Roe v. Wade”: CBS News’ CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell; Norah O’Donnell, anchor and managing editor; Adam Verdugo, executive producer; Alturo Rhymes, executive story editor; Elizabeth Turner, senior broadcast producer; Jan Crawford, Omar Villafranca, Jamie Yuccas and Elaine Quijano, correspondents; Julie Morse, Brian Gottlieb, Paul Facey, Sherri Sylvester and Patrick Becker, senior producers; Robert Kozberg, Caroline Bol, Anam Siddiq, Chris Laible, Kate Rydell, Corey Rangel, Rebecca Kaplan, Rebecca Reingold, Durrell Dawson, Angela Moore, Maggie Dore and Olivia Rinaldi, producers; Brian McEneny, Stephen Boyd, Chris Hassan, Larry Goldfine, George Whipple, Gustavo Sampaio, Heather Spinelli, editors

Honorable Mention:Spotlight—Supreme Court”: ABC News; Devin Dwyer, correspondent; Sarah Herndon, Robert Gehlen and Isabella Meneses, producers; Paul Strzegowski, editor; Paul Dougherty, director of photography; Joey Ybarra, Lincoln Wiese and Sal Malguarnera, photographers; John Fonseca, Jeff Edrich and Larry Kaltenbach, audio technicians

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