Ashton Pittman Journalism Awards & Honors

Last updated on June 22, 2021

Here is a list of the various journalism awards I’ve won since I began working in the craft as a student journalist in 2009.

2021

2021 Diamond Journalism Awards

Society of Professional Journalists, Arkansas Pro Chapter

For work published in 2020

Diamond Journalist of the Year | 1st Place

Judges: “This is an amazing writer who knows how to get to the heart of a story and make it mean something to the reader. It doesn’t seem to matter what the topic is. Ashton tackles it with a keen eye for detail and dedication to holding those [in power] accountable when needed. Great work!”

Robert S. McCord Freedom of Information Award | 1st Place

With Donna Ladd and Christian Middleton for “bringing racist, sexist UM emails, climate report to public view” (Mississippi Free Press)

Judges: “A truly amazing series of reports. There were so many back-stories that at times it was hard to know the players. Yet, in the end it all fit together. The public had a right to know what was going on at the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Free Press delivered. Nicely done.”

Public Service | 1st Place

For the Mississippi Trusted Elections Project with William Pittman, John McGee, Jarius Smith, Taylor Hathorn, Jamar Muhammad, Julian Mills, Allie Jordan and Donna Ladd. (Mississippi Free Press)

My work submitted included: Madison County Moves 2,000 Black, Hispanic Voters To Crowded Precinct With Little Warning, Confusion, Two-Hour Waits After 2,000 Black, Hispanic Voters Relocated In Ridgeland (with William Pittman), Bipartisan Bill Would Allow All Mississippians to Vote In-Person Absentee Starting Oct. 5, Mississippi Officials Moved Three Times More Polling Places Than Reported for 65,000 Voters (with William Pittman), Mississippi Officials May Ask Voters to Remove Masks for Photo ID Check; Face Coverings Not Required at Polls.

Judges: “An extraordinary series of stories documenting efforts by Mississippi officials to change polling locations of thousands of voters with very little communication. Only when confronted by the truth from the newspaper’s reporters did state officials make any effort to correct problems. This is a great public service. Kudos to the team that obviously worked tirelessly to help guarantee the right to vote.”

Breaking News, Online | 1st Place

For “UM appoints acting ombuds as weary faculty see effort to ‘stamp out’ anti-racism voices” and “Mississippi nursing home employee tests positive for COVID-19” (Mississippi Free Press)

Judges: “Strong deadline reporting from the Mississippi Free Press makes it the clear winner in this category.”

Ongoing Coverage, Online | 1st Place

For coverage on Mississippi’s state flag, including: “Mississippi’s long, ugly road to changing its state flag,” “‘I Looked Like a Villain’: Why a Mississippi Flag Defender Changed His Mind,” “‘Today, I Hear Their Hurt’: Mississippi Governor Signs Bill to Change State Flag,” “Mississippi Votes to Adopt New State Flag, Affirmatively Shedding Confederate Symbol” (Mississippi Free Press)

Judges: “Solid reporting and writing on the long and complex journey to change the Mississippi state flag. Good historical perspective in the first few segments detailing the outright venom against those who wanted things to change. Additional stories detailed how times changed and the state wanted to move on. Fair, balanced and important. Nice work.

Investigative Reporting, Online | 1st Place

For “The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation” (Mississippi Free Press)

Judges: “These stories present a troubling pattern at a major institution.”

Features, Online | 1st Place

For “‘Good Trouble’ In A White Flight Suburb: Oak Grove High Teens Confront Racism” (Mississippi Free Press)

Politics, Print/Online | 1st Place

For “Governor’s ‘Restart Mississippi’ Appointees Gave Big Money To His Campaigns,” “Mississippi Rep ‘Sorry’ for Call to ‘Succeed From the Union’ After Talk With House Speaker,” “Nursing Home PAC Spent Big Lobbying Mississippi Officials, Giving To Campaigns” (Mississippi Free Press)

Judges: “Well-researched and well-written series of stories which outline the problem of PACs and suggest ways to possibly solve them.”

2021 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism

University of Oregon School of Journalism School of Journalism and Communication

For work published in 2020

Finalist

With Mississippi Free Press Editor Donna Ladd for “‘The Fabric is Torn in Oxford’: UM Officials Decried Racism Publicly, Coddled it Privately.”

Judges: “The Mississippi Free Press finalist is for “‘The Fabric is Torn in Oxford’: UM Officials Decried Racism Publicly, Coddled it Privately.” A public records request provided the media outlet thousands of emails and other documents from the University of Mississippi, where a group of anonymous whistleblowers unearthed a collection of emails between university officials and wealthy donors expressing racist views. The newsroom balanced the need to protect the identities of the whistleblowers and other sources.”

Read the press announcement on the 2021 Ancil Payne Award here.

2020

2020 Associated Press Louisiana/Mississippi Awards

For work published in 2019

Investigative Reporting | 1st Place

Jackson Free Press, Vol. 18 No. 6

For “God Save the Governor: Phil Bryant, Brexit Soldier” (Jackson Free Press)

Judges: “Ashton Pittman’s expansive look at Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s ties to the Brexit movement (and the Trump administration) starts with a tantalizing anecdote. Prince Charles encounters the governor in Buckingham Palace and, upon learning who he is, asks: ‘What on earth are you doing here?’ Pittman then goes on to explain, in exhaustive detail, the governor’s ties to those inside the Brexit and Trump campaigns. A fascinating read.

Finalist

Breaking News | 2nd Place
For “White Supremacists Caught at Emmett Till Memorial Making Propaganda Film” (Jackson Free Press)

Judges: “Good timing and good background.”

Continuing Coverage | 2nd Place
For reporting on August 2019 Mississippi ICE raids and the the “Hispanic Project” (Jackson Free Press)

Judges: “An expansive look at many different angles of a frustrating and scary situation.”

General News | 3rd Place
Mississippi: The Battleground for Roe v. Wade’s Future?”

Judges: “This piece tells a compelling story of the potential struggle women in Mississippi could once again face.”

2020 Diamond Journalism Awards

Society of Professional Journalists, Arkansas Pro Chapter

For work published in 2019

News Reporting, Non-Daily Newspapers | 1st Place

For reporting on August 2019 ICE raids, Mississippi’s economy (Jackson Free Press)

Political Reporting, Non-Daily Newspapers | 1st Place

For reporting on race and gender in Mississippi elections (Jackson Free Press)

Health Reporting, Non-Daily Newspapers | 1st Place

As Mississippi Debates Abortion, Maternal Mortality Rate Remains High” (Jackson Free Press)

Community Service | 1st Place

Won with Aliyah Veal and Donna Ladd for reporting on August 2019 ICE raids (Jackson Free Press)

Finalist

Investigative Reporting, Non-Daily Newspapers | 2nd Place
For “God Save the Governor: Phil Bryant, Brexit Soldier” (Jackson Free Press)

View the full list of 2020 Diamond Journalism Awards winners.

2020 Green Eyeshade Awards

Society of Professional Journalists Southeast

Public Affairs Reporting, Non-Dailies | 1st Place

For reporting on abortion rights v. state government. (Jackson Free Press)

For work published in 2019

Finalist

General News Reporting, Non-Dailies | 3rd Place
Won with Donna Ladd for reporting on August 2019 ICE raids. (Jackson Free Press)

Politics Reporting, Non-Dailies | 3rd Place
For reporting on southern politics, from Phil Bryant to Joe Biden. (Jackson Free Press)

Public Service, Non-Daily Journalism | 3rd Place
With Aliyah Veal, Ingrid Cruz and Donna Ladd for covering the 2019 ICE raids. (Jackson Free Press)

View the full list of 2020 Green Eyeshade Awards winners.

2020 Association of Alternative News Media Awards

For work published in 2019

Immigration Reporting | Honorable Mention
With Aliyah Veal for “ICE Raids in Mississippi” (Jackson Free Press)

Extremism Coverage | Honorable Mention
For “God Save the Governor: Phil Bryant, Brexit Soldier” (Jackson Free Press)

View the full list of Association of Alternative News Media Awards.

2019

2019 Diamond Journalism Awards

Society of Professional Journalists, Arkansas Pro Chapter

For work published in 2018

Outstanding New Journalist | 1st Place

Judges: “Ashton Pittman provides impressive depth and context to his reporting. He brings a much-needed historical perspective to current political stories.”

Politics Reporting, Non-Daily Newspapers | 1st Place

With Donna Ladd and Amber Helsel for coverage of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s re-election campaign, including “Hyde-Smith Attended All-White Seg Academy to Avoid Integration,” “Hyde-Smith’s Public Hanging Quip Bombs in State With Most Lynchings,” “Governor Calls Abortion ‘Black Genocide,’ Defends Hyde-Smith On ‘Hanging’ Tape” “Full Public Hanging Video Surfaces, Revealing More About Hyde-Smith’s Views.”

Judges: “Entries were enterprising, in-depth and insightful.”

View the full list of 2019 Diamond Journalism Awards winners.

2019 Green Eyeshades Awards

Society of Professional Journalists Southeast

For work published in 2018

Politics Reporting, Non-Dailies | 1st Place

Source: Jackson Free Press

With Donna Ladd and Amber Helsel for coverage of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s re-election campaign, including “Hyde-Smith Attended All-White Seg Academy to Avoid Integration,” “Hyde-Smith’s Public Hanging Quip Bombs in State With Most Lynchings,” “Governor Calls Abortion ‘Black Genocide.”

Judges:  “Entries were enterprising, in-depth and insightful.”

View the full list of 2019 Green Eye Shades Awards winners.

2019 Associated Press Louisiana/Mississippi Awards

For work published in 2018

Finalist

Political Reporting | 2nd Place 
With Donna Ladd and Amber Helsel for coverage of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s re-election campaign, including “Hyde-Smith Attended All-White Seg Academy to Avoid Integration,” “Hyde-Smith’s Public Hanging Quip Bombs in State With Most Lynchings,” “Governor Calls Abortion ‘Black Genocide,’ Defends Hyde-Smith On ‘Hanging’ Tape,” “Hyde-Smith In New Video: ‘Make Voting More Difficult For People In ‘Those Schools,'” “Full Public Hanging Video Surfaces, Revealing More About Hyde-Smith’s Views.”

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