The Curley Center Awards Michigan Radio and USA Today
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism held its award ceremony for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports on Wednesday night in the Kern Auditorium.
Among those honored were Michigan Radio’s Vincent Duffy and USA Today’s Nancy Armour, Rachel Axon and Brent Schrotenboer. Both publications produced work that focused on the abuse of female athletes at the youth, intercollegiate and Olympic levels of sports.
Michigan Radio’s podcast series titled “Believed” told the story of Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State and USA gymnastics doctor who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting girls. Reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith led the exploration of Nassar’s method and dug deeper into the events that took place. Duffy said the project’s fallout made a lasting impact.
“The dean of the Osteopathic School of Medicine from MSU is on trial, the former president of MSU just had her preliminary exam this week, and she resigned,” Duffy said. “Michigan State University had a $500 million settlement with the survivors.”
For USA Today, both Axon and Schrontenboer were present to receive their award. They sought to find Olympic coaches who continued to coach after they were banned for sexual misconduct across the United States. They did this by starting with more than 450 names, then surveyed 49 national governing bodies and finally narrowed it down from there. The two stories Axon and Schrontenboer spoke about focused on a taekwondo coach from Florida and an equestrian coach from Oklahoma.
“I like to go into interviews knowing definitely more than the source thinks I know and maybe more than the source knows,” Axon said on the topic of investigative reporting. “So I interrogate the heck out of documents first.”
Curley Center director John Affleck said his department takes pride in awarding publications for exceptional journalism on youth sports.
“We have been able to honor journalists from some of the greatest institutions of journalism in this country – The New York Times, Boston Globe and the tradition continues tonight,” Affleck said.
Maria Coyne is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, firstname.lastname@example.org.