“The statistics are embarrassing to the state [of Texas]“Mona Reeder, Poynter Online,
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Damon Winter recommended the work of Mona Reeder, a former colleague of his at The Dallas Morning News.
Reeder won the ‘Investigative Issue Picture Story’ at the 2008 Best of Photojournalism Awards for The Bottom Line. Through pictures, Reeder explored Texas’ poor rankings in a number of categories including health care, executions, mental health statistics, juvenile incarceration, voter apathy, poverty and environmental protection.
This is not solely a photography project about prisons, and thereby lies its strength. Reeder successfully links the stories of numerous state institutions that are left wanting when put under close examination. It is truly a Texan story for Texan constituents. Reeder explains, “As I was wrapping up a project about homelessness in Dallas, a social worker who had helped me with contacts on the streets handed me a set of statistics issued by the state comptroller’s office ranking Texas with the other states in the U.S.”
Photojournalism was an effective medium for this breadth of information, “This project represented a well-researched, in-depth piece about serious issues affecting the entire state of Texas, and it was presented in an innovative manner that even the busiest person could get through and absorb in a relatively short amount of time” states Reeder.
Mona Reeder has worked on numerous criminal justice issues in Texas, including death row stories and sex-offender rehabilitation.
As well as the BOP (2008), Reeder won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for The Bottom Line. She was interviewed by the Poynter Institute about the project and her approaches to photojournalism.
The Dallas Morning News gave The Bottom Line the full multimedia treatment with an impressive online package featuring eight slideshows of the stories of individuals wrapped up in the statistics. IT’S A MUST SEE.