Washington Post

Thursday, April 27, 2000

Three Washington Post staff writers have won national journalism awards for their stories chronicling the war in Kosovo and the treatment of mentally retarded wards of the D.C. government.

Peter Finn won both the grand prize and the international print journalism category of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his eight-part series of dispatches from Kosovo. Finn spent 78 days documenting killings and mass expulsions of civilians during the war last year. After the conflict, he stayed on to witness the difficulty NATO forces encountered during peacekeeping operations.

One of Finn's stories describing the destruction of a neighborhood in Djakovica helped investigators from the International War Crimes Tribunal secure a survivor's testimony in a case accusing Serbs of atrocities in Kosovo.

The 32-year-old Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award was founded by a group of reporters who covered Kennedy's presidential campaign. Entries were judged by 33 journalists, and winners are picked for outstanding reporting on the problems of the disadvantaged.

The Society of Professional Journalists gave two of its 1999 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism to David Finkel, for his stories from Kosovo, and to Katherine Boo, for her stories on scores of deaths inside District group homes that had never been investigated.

Finkel, a staff writer for The Washington Post Magazine, won in the features category. His stories recounted individual tales of upheaval and horror from Kosovo's war.

Boo won in the investigative category. Her articles, which looked into lives and deaths inside group homes for the mentally retarded, prompted city and federal agencies to open their own investigations. Boo's stories also were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Selden Ring Award and the Heywood Broun Award for distinguished journalism.

Original article