(WOMENSENEWS)–The weekend of the March for Women’s Lives was a watershed moment for Women’s eNews. Its team of seven reporters, led by editor in chief Rita Henley Jensen, along with photographer Jennifer Crandall, provided the most extensive news coverage of the largest gathering of women in history.
In addition, Henley Jensen received an alumni award in New York from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism on Friday, April 23. On Saturday, Henley Jensen, along with Women’s eNews reporter, Cynthia Cooper, picked up the Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. On Sunday, the Daily News of New York named Henley Jensen one of the 100 of New York City’s most interesting, innovative and influential females.
Also receiving the Columbia alumni awards were Ken Best, Michele Montas-Dominque and Lewis Simons. Best is the founder and editor-in-chief of West Africa’s first independent newspaper, the Daily Observer, in Monrovia, Liberia. After his newspaper was burned down, he lived in exile in Gambia and the United States. He is preparing to return to Liberia, to once again publish the Daily Observer.
Montas-Dominque was the news director and co-anchor of Haiti’s leading radio station Radio Haiti Inter for 20 years. After the assassination of her husband in 2000 and threats made against her own life, she came to the United States. Montas-Dominque is currently spokesperson for the president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Simons, a contributor to National Geographic magazine, is the recipient of journalism’s most prestigious prizes, including the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and the 1985 George Polk Award for International Reporting, for Knight Ridder and the San Jose Mercury News. He is also the author of “Worth Dying For,” published by William Morrow, 1987.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America presented the Maggie Award to Henley Jensen in Washington D.C. at its annual meeting for affiliates. Women’s eNews was chosen in recognition of the overall excellence of its reporting on these reproductive and health issues and the impact that this reporting has on the growing visibility of the threats to reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood said in a press release that Women’s eNews “is especially remarkable” for its status as a progressive new media leader, using the Internet to distribute important information in new ways to new audiences.
Cooper, the writer of many of the Women’s eNews stories on reproductive health, told the audience she once submitted a list of 50 story ideas to Women’s eNews about issues surrounding abortion and she is “working her way through them one by one.” Cooper is also the writer of the play, “Word of Choice,” that explores many of the emotional and political facets of the controversies swirling around abortion and women’s reproductive freedom.
Working Assets, the other award winner, received the award for making a direct contribution to the pro-choice cause by covering reproductive health and rights issues on its Web site and by donating a portion of the proceeds from its various services to worthy non-profit organizations. For nearly 15 years, Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood network of affiliates have received more than one million dollars from this generous and dedicated supporter.
Laura Scher, chair and CEO of Working Assets, accepted the award on behalf of Working Assets.
The Maggie Awards, named after Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, have recognized noteworthy achievement in media coverage of reproductive rights and health care issues since 1978. The award honors news coverage that responds to the public’s need for reliable information and responsible discussion of the sensitive issues of sexuality education, teenage pregnancy, contraception, international family planning and access to abortion.
The cover story for Sunday’s LifeLine section of the New York Daily News was a listing and brief biographies of 100 of “the amazing women of NYC.” Included in the list were a wide range of city women: philanthropist Brooke Astor, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, Latina activist Alice Cardona, former gang member now inspirational leader of Brooklyn female teens; Today Show host Katie Couric, and The New York Times editorial page editor Gail Collins, Sandra Payne, the New York Public Library’s coordinator of young adults services; Vera Wang, dress designer; and Wendy Williams, star of her own VH1 show.
Henley Jensen said on Monday that she was overwhelmed and flattered by all the recognition. “At the same time,” Henley Jensen said, “I wish I could drag the other editors, business staff, reporters, fund-raising team and donors into the spotlight with me. We all would love to have a good bask together.”