On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, winners of the first Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting joined over 100 special guests at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to celebrate their extraordinary body of work.
Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay Times, and Michael Braga of Sarasota Herald-Tribune worked for more than 18 months on the award winning series that exposes harrowing conditions at Florida’s institutions for the mentally ill after $100 million in budget cuts. The five-part project, titled “Insane. Invisible. In danger.” reveals the dangers to mentally ill patients and workers in the institutions, where treatment takes a back seat to controlling rampant violence.
The award was established by the Luv u Project to increase awareness and prompt responsible actions in mental health throughout the country.
“If we can nudge the world in the right direction, just an inch, then we have done our jobs…” said Cormier.
The Luv u Project’s partnership with the National Press Foundation (NPF), which administered the selection process, was vital. A special thanks to Sandy Johnson, President of the NPF.
The Luv u Project would also like to extend a special thank you to the distinguished trio of judges: Frank Deford, Amalie Nash, and Bob Meyers.
The evening program included discussion of The Project’s current initiatives, very touching and personal remarks by the winners, and a panel discussion with questions
submitted by guests.
“It’s amazing that someone can go through such a horrific moment in their lives, and they come out of it with love,” commented Braga in his remarks. “Imagine turning things around like that. My heart would be filled with vengeance, not love. I’ve learned a lot through this process, but that’s the greatest thing I’ve learned thus far. You can turn it into love.”
We are grateful to Leonora, Michael, and Anthony for their incredible talent, passion, and genuine interest in The Luv u Project.
Since being named winners of the Mattingly Award, they have also won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovation in Journalism Award.