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  • “Invisible Families” Awarded Casey Journalism Medal

    August 4, 2011

    The 2011 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism in Multimedia went to the Seattle Times online presentation of “Invisible Families.” This is the second time this summer that an award was given to the reporting project, which grew out of the Center for Strategic Communications Project on Family Homelessness. The award recognizes distinguished news coverage of disadvantaged children, youth and families. The Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism are presented by the Journalism Center on Children & Families and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    Sociology major Maggie Wykowski ’11 and graduate student Laura Kesl interned with the Seattle Times team on the multimedia project. Professor Barry Mitzman directs the Center for Strategic Communications.

    “The Seattle Times newsroom worked with Seattle University and several of our community news partners to tell the story of family homelessness in ways our newsroom alone could not,” said Kathy Best, Seattle Times managing editor. “[The project ] touched the community and created an ongoing discussion about an issue that had previously lived in the shadows.”

    In announcing the award, the judges said: "The project, packaged in an easily navigable Web presentation, is filled with beautifully told stories in text, video and photos of an important topic: the day-to-day challenges facing homeless families. The five-month investigation found an overwhelmed social service network and families living in trucks and bouncing between friends’ homes and run-down motels. The videos of the homeless mothers, fathers and children telling their stories were extremely moving -- and eye-opening. … The outpouring of comments and offers of help from businesses and individuals revealed the nerves the stories touched in the community.”

    In acknowledgment of its work on family homelessness, the Center for Strategic Communications received a second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand the project.

    The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees, including degrees in communication studies, journalism, and strategic communication in the Communication Department.

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