City Limits was honored for its work during 2010, during which the magazine investigated the Harlem Children's Zone's role as a model for federal anti-poverty policy, the silent crisis of black male joblessness, the challenges facing youth in today's New York, problems with the city's adoption of synthetic turf in hundreds of parks, the plight of independent businesses and flaws in the city's land-use planning process. The Izzy judges said the work was “a model of in-depth urban journalism that examines systemic problems, challenges assumptions and points toward solutions.”
City Limits shares the award with Robert Scheer, a pioneering alternative journalist who edits Truthdig and whom the judges described as “a beacon of journalistic independence who exposes both major parties on issues foreign and domestic, while giving voice to the disenfranchised.” Scheer is the author of six books, including his recent work “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.” He was a top editor of “Ramparts” magazine in the 1960s, a national correspondent for the “Los Angeles Times” from 1976 to 1993 and is a regular analyst on public radio’s “Left, Right and Center.”
On Thursday night, City Limits took home first place honors in both the investigative and education categories at the New York Community Media Alliance's ninth annual Ippies awards. Patrick Arden won the investigative prize for his report on synthetic turf and Helen Zelon led the education category with her story on the Harlem Children's Zone.
Arden found that overuse and chronic neglect has run turf ragged years ahead of schedule; price comparisons generally favor natural grass, even in the long term; and the health risks of turf—largely dismissed by the city after the destruction of one artificial field for high lead levels in late 2008—are much broader and deeper than previously reported. The issue was photographed by Adi Talwar.
Zelon's story looked closely at the performance of the Harlem Children's Zone, raising questions about how readily the well-intentioned and much-praised program might be applied in other cities. Alice Proujansky and Rebecca Davis contributed photography.
Last week, Zelon won second place from the National Education Writers Association in its small market investigative reporting category for the Children's Zone piece.
Other members of the magazine's editorial team during 2010 included writers Melanie Lefkowicz, Curtis Stephen, E.R. Shipp, Nekoro Gomes, Samia Shafi, Rachel Dodakian, Maria Muentes, Neil deMause, Eileen Markey and Jake Mooney; photographers Colin Lenton, Lizzie Ford-Madrid and Marc Fader; designer Anthony Smyrski and proofreader Danial Adkison. Editing support came from Kelly Virella, Karen Loew and Mark Anthony Thomas.