GFWC Honors Amy Brittain With National Journalism Award
September 9, 2021
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is pleased to honor Amy Brittain with the 2021 Jane Cunningham Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism Covering Issues of Concern to Women for her work on Canary, a seven-part investigative podcast about two women who refused to stay silent about their experiences with sexual assault. Brittain is a reporter with The Washington Post’s investigative team.
Canary begins by telling the story of a young woman who was sexually assaulted several years ago while jogging in Washington, D.C. The attacker was identified and prosecuted after pleading guilty; however, he was only given a 10-day jail sentence to be served on weekends. Brittain’s coverage of the story soon prompted another woman to approach her with an account of sexual assault—one that involved the judge who presided over the jogger’s case. The second victim confided to Brittain that she was sexually assaulted decades ago by the judge, a longtime family friend, while asleep on a family vacation when she was just 16 years old. After the first assault, she said the judge continued his harassment on multiple separate occasions as she grew older.
The Washington Post’s first investigative podcast brings to light the challenges and opposition survivors often face when deciding to speak out about sexual assault and harassment. Amy Brittain’s work explains the unlikely connection between two women who ultimately came forward with their experiences.
“We are thrilled to present Amy Brittain with the 2021 Jane Cunningham Croly Award,” GFWC International President Marian St.Clair said. “Canary is a powerful and complex story that not only raises awareness about the widespread prevalence of sexual assault, but also encapsulates the inspiring strength and courage of women survivors.”
In addition to the 2021 Jane Cunningham Croly Award, Brittain also received the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for her work on Canary. This award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to broadcast and digital journalism.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ Signature Program: Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention’s goal is to increase awareness of and help prevent the widespread occurrence of violence against women in communities across the United States–and the globe. Canary shines a bright spotlight on the consequences that survivors may face when they report, calling attention to how difficult the decision to come forward can be for survivors. This podcast uncovers how likely it is for sexual assault to happen to anyone, anywhere. Canary encourages others to begin the conversation about how to prevent instances of domestic and sexual violence in the future.
The Jane Cunningham Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism Covering Issues of Concern to Women recognizes journalists who best capture the courage, vision, and spirit of GFWC’s founder and pioneering journalist Jane Cunningham Croly. Winners of the Croly Award demonstrate a concern for the rights and advancement of women in our society; an awareness of women’s strength and courage; and/or an attempt to counteract sexism.
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The Rochester Junior Women’s Club (Michigan) was established in 1956 with 16 members, and today has over 70 members that always come together to support one another. The club chooses three or four major charities to support and several smaller ones, donating approximately $30,000 each year. In total since its inception, the club has provided more than 1 million hours of community service, and raised more than $928,000 to support their community!