The Post and Courier has been named the winner of a 2015 National Headliner Award for its five-part series that explored South Carolina’s deadly toll from domestic violence.
“Till Death Do Us Part,” written by Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula Hauff, revealed that more than 300 women were killed by husbands or boyfriends in a decade, while the state’s leaders did little to stem the violence.
Founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliner Awards program is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit in the communications industry.
The Post and Courier team began work on the series in September 2013 when the Violence Police Center in Washington ranked South Carolina No. 1 in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. The California-based Center for Investigative Reporting’s then-Editorial Director Mark Katches consulted on and helped edit the series, while Senior Editor for Data Journalism Jennifer LaFleur provided database training. CIR also provided funding for data research and print graphics.
“Till Death Do Us Part,” published in August, revealed numerous failings, including limited police training, inadequate laws, a lack of punishment, insufficient education for judges, a dearth of support for victims and traditional beliefs about the sanctity of marriage that keep victims locked in the cycle of abuse. The series has prompted efforts to reform South Carolina’s domestic violence laws, among other things.
The series has previously been awarded a prestigious George Polk Award for state reporting, The American Society of News Editors’ 2015 Local Accountability Reporting Award, a 2015 Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, the 2015 John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for “Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting,” a first-place award for investigative journalism in the 2014 EPPY Awards sponsored by Editor and Publisher, and September’s Sidney Award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation, which honors excellence in journalism in service of the common good.
The series is a finalist in The American Bar Association’s 2015 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. “Till Death Do Us Part” also was named a finalist for a 2014 IRE Award and for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.