Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson's report on regional health disparities in the time of the pandemic won a first place "best reporting award" in the 2021 national Catholic Press Award competition. The story also won three second place awards for best feature article - racial inequities; best writing - analysis, and best layout - scholarly magazine.
The same story won an Excel Award - Gold for feature article and a Silver Award in the Excel competition for feature article design.
The story titled Two Zip Codes, A World Apart, was a huge team effort on the part of the editors at Health Progress Magazine -- Mary Ann Steiner and Betsy Taylor -- and the team at Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson, the St. Louis region's nonprofit racial equity storytelling program. Sally J. Altman was lead author for Two Zip Codes, with contributions from Sylvester Brown, Jeannette Cooperman, Aisha Sultan and Richard H. Weiss.
These reporters and others on the BFBF team with support from the Pulitzer Center have been following families in the 63106 zipcode, which had been identified in a 2014 study as having the most problematic social determinants of health in our region. According to that study, average life expectancy was 67 years for a child born in 2010 in 63106. In 63105, average life expectancy for the same cohort was 85 years old. (Zipcode 63106 encompasses a sector just north and west of downtown St. Louis and 63105 is essentially Clayton, the St. Louis County seat, mostly white and with the highest per capita income in the region).
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, BFBF has been sharing the stories of eight families in 63106 in serial fashion with St. Louis mainstream media including (alphabetically), the Riverfront Times, St. Louis American, St. Louis Jewish Light, St. Louis Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and St. Louis Public Radio. Taylor and Steiner, taking note of BFBF's initiative, asked for a report tying together the learnings and addressing their audience.
Steiner/Taylor later asked for an additional report. The COVID Conundrum is in their most recent edition, again written by Altman with contributions from Cooperman, Sultan, Weiss and Denise Hollinshed.
The National Catholic Press Awards is a competition organized by the Catholic Media Association which has 200 member publications.
The EXCEL Award from SIIA (Specialized Information Industry & Associations) is considered the largest and most prestigious program recognizing excellence and leadership in association media, publishing, marketing and communication.
Health Progress is the journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States and is published quarterly on topics of importance in Catholic health care. Steiner (now retired) and Taylor produce the journal with page designer Les Stock. BFBF's story is just one of many awards Health Progress took home in June.