University of Florida launches $25,000 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability

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The Collier Prize for State Government Accountability is now accepting entries for the $25,000 prize, one of the largest journalism prizes in the nation. Information about the prize and how to submit entries is available on the Collier Prize site.

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications announced the creation of the prize last April. It is designed to encourage coverage of state government, focusing on investigative and political reporting, and will be awarded annually at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner starting in 2020. UFCJC is partnering with WHCA to promote, administer and present the annual award.

The award is funded by Nathan S. Collier, founder and chairman of The Collier Companies headquartered in Gainesville, Fla. Collier is a descendant of Peter Fenelon Collier, who in 1888 founded Collier's, a weekly magazine focused on investigative journalism and publishing stories from renowned journalists such as Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell and Samuel Hopkins Adams.  One of the magazine's most famous investigative series was the "The Great American Fraud," which analyzed the contents of popular patent medicines and led to the first Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

In announcing the award in April, UFCJC Dean Diane McFarlin cited a diminished investment in statehouse coverage over the last decade.

"The professional news media's watchdog role in state capitols has declined precipitously over the last decade in the number of journalists employed to cover state governments," said McFarlin, former publisher of the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. "The result is that citizens don't know what they don't know, and the danger is that corruption and malfeasance can proceed unchecked. We hope this prize will encourage more rigorous coverage of a government body that has a direct impact on citizens' lives every day."

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