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Call for Entries - 2019 Texas Gavel Awards

The State Bar of Texas is seeking entries for the 2019 Texas Gavel Awards, which honor outstanding journalism that fosters public understanding of the legal system.  Entries must have been published or broadcast during the 2018 calendar year.  Submissions will be accepted for print, broadcast, and online categories until 5 p.m., March 29.  

The Texas Gavel Awards recognize excellence in journalism that educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government; and discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the practice of law, the courts, or the justice system.  Unlike many journalist awards contests, there is no entry fee for Texas Gavel Awards submissions.  The State Bar of Texas uses an online entry form to aid in the submission process.

View Submission Requirements & Guidelines

Two Texas newsrooms won in the broadcast categories in the 2018 Texas Gavel Awards.  History was made in the Major Metro broadcast category as two WFAA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth reporters, Tanya Eiserer and Jason Wheeler, tied for the winning spot in the contest, the first time that two journalists from the same station had done so.

Eiserer was recognized for her special report which highlighted a woman’s fight for justice after she was sexually assaulted and felt re-victimized by authorities.  Wheeler’s winning report examined the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Prison Entrepreneurship Program and an unexpected mentor who teaches etiquette to inmates.

A four-member investigative team from KRIS-TV Corpus Christi won the broadcast Non-Metro division.  Led by KRIS investigative reporter Jessica Savage, the station exposed a loophole in Texas law that allowed a candidate in a city runoff election to help 19 people cast their ballots.

After KRIS’ four-part coverage of that story and a subsequent voter fraud investigation, a Robstown woman pled guilty to providing unlawful assistance to a voter related to the 2016 election.

View WFAA and KRIS 2018 Entries

The program is coordinated and sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee.  An independent panel that includes out-of-state journalists, editors, professors, and attorneys with journalism backgrounds will judge the entries.  The awards will be presented at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas’ annual conference in Austin in September.

Questions?  Contact Amy Starnes, the State Bar of Texas’ Public Information Director, by email or at (512) 427-1706.

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