I’m proud to tell you that TheWrap won two awards on Thursday night for its 2009 coverage of the controversy around the attempted closures at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home.
Andrew Gumbel won best online news story of 2009 for his investigation (see below) into the financial statements of the fund, where he discovered that the public claims of empty coffers were not accurate.
His second story found that the fund’s hospital director, David Tillman, was earning a six-figure salary far higher than the state norm, and that he got a 20 percent raise even as the board of directors was deciding to shut down the hospital and long-term care facility.
And Steven Mikulan won second place for his feature , "Kafka-esque Twilight at the MPTF," about the eerie, people-free visit we paid to the home, with clearly uncomfortable administrators. (Photo: Kevin Davis, Lew Harris, Sharon Waxman, Josh Dickey, Brent Lang. photo by Joseph Silva)
It may be only the third year of the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Awards, but the event seems long overdue. It’s high time to recognize those who put serious effort and thought into writing about the world of entertainment and media. This year TheWrap was nominated nine times.
TheWrap also won honorable mention for Desson Thomson’s film criticism, I won second place in the news category (lost to Gumbel, dang!) for my news break on Comcast acquiring NBC-Universal. And TheWrap came in second for best entertainment news site.
Mainly, I was just thrilled to see our work, especially on the MPTF, recognized. TheWrap was the only outlet in Hollywood that stayed doggedly on the issue, reported it deeply and persistently.
Several members of the group fighting to keep their loved ones at the home, Saving the Lives of Our Own, showed up to the awards to express their gratitude that TheWrap has provided deep and continual coverage of the issue.
And good for the Los Angeles Press Club for deciding to recognize excellence in entertainment journalism. There are efforts that are worthy of recognition, and the awards encourage those of us who are trying to set a high bar, and reach for it every day.
BY ANDREW GUMBEL:
BY STEPHEN MIKULAN: