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SouthtownStar Haiti series wins NINA award

A young child sits barefoot unclothed pile rubble along Caribbean SeCite Soleil Port-au-Prince Haiti. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

A young child sits barefoot and unclothed on a pile of rubble along the Caribbean Sea in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 22, 2012 6:43AM



Photographer Matt Marton’s work on the SouthtownStar series, “Haiti: Two years later,” has been honored by the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.

Marton was awarded NINA’s Excellence in Journalism Award Thursday night at the organization’s 50th anniversary fall conference at Northern Illinois University. Judges said columnist Donna Vickroy, who wrote the stories, was the contest’s runner-up.

“The paper made a significant investment to send these two journalists to Haiti for five days,” the judges said in their remarks. “The journalists stepped into harm’s way at times, witnessed the horror of extreme poverty and also chronicled hope for better days.”

Marton and Vickroy went to Haiti this year to follow the trail of donated goods and money from the Southland to Port-au-Prince two years after an earthquake leveled much of the city. Their work resulted in a weeklong series, in print and online, from Feb. 19 through 26.

“This country, just short of two hours by air from Florida, is so desperately poor and devastated that I partly wish I was still there, taking more photos to show the world how much its people need help,” Marton wrote in February. “I am left sad and haunted by what I saw.”

The judges said his photos went beyond chronicling the trail of compassion from the Southland to Haiti.

They also commended Vickroy’s stories, saying her work “ordinarily could have won a competition like this. But in this case, judges felt that Marton’s Pulitzer-quality photos were so compelling that they merited singular attention.”

SouthtownStar editor Joe Biesk said he was proud of the journalists’ work, along with other staff members who contributed behind the scenes.

“Our newspaper is committed to producing high-quality compelling journalism that grips readers and gives them the best source of relevant news,” Biesk said. “It’s nice to be recognized by others in our industry for a job well done.”

The series can be found online at:

http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/HaitiTwoYearsLater/index.html



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