Public Radio’s Austin Jenkins Wins Law And Justice Journalism Honor

Aug 17, 2016

On a gray, rainy afternoon a man walks into a library and shows a missing-person flyer to a librarian. It’s in a day’s work for a foster child “locator” whose job is to find kids who’ve run away.

On a Tuesday morning a pair of brothers cry in court and say goodbye to their mother as they are sent to juvenile detention for skipping school--a phenomenon in which Washington state leads the country.

With a coffee cup in her hand, a woman visits the jail where her brain-injured son has been held for 57 days, asking through a bulletproof window about his medication.

Our Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins brought you these stories to highlight law and justice issues in Washington state. Wednesday night his reporting on these stories and more was honored with the Excellence in Journalism Award from the Washington State Association for Justice.

The WSAJ Excellence in Journalism Award recognizes reporting that furthers public understanding of the law. The association honored Austin’s “professionalism and how committed he is to providing a true story” in his coverage of Washington state government and its policies. In addition to all of these stories Austin provides in-depth and daily coverage of the Washington legislative session and statewide elected officials in public radio’s Olympia bureau. He also hosts a public affairs show on the television channel TVW.

Austin is the first journalist whose work in public broadcasting is recognized with the Excellence in Journalism Award from WSAJ. Our public radio colleagues Tonya Mosley and Carol Smith won this honor for their journalism in The Stranger and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspapers, respectively.

Austin was also recognized this year with first place awards from Public Radio News Directors, Inc. and the northwest region of the Society for Professional Journalists.

Congratulations, Austin! Thank you to our supporters who make Austin’s work possible.