Members of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona (FACAZ) have chosen Caitlin Schmidt, with The Arizona Daily Star, and Craig Harris, with the Arizona Republic as the 2018 STAR Award winners. Caitlin and Craig are being honored for their efforts to protect the principles of the First Amendment and further the public’s right to know about government actions through their tenacious journalism.
A reception in their honor will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 in the First Amendment Forum at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave. Metered street parking available.
Caitlin’s work portfolio is remarkable in southern Arizona. She has uncovered corruption within the Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and wrote dozens of stories about law enforcement officers accused of serious misconduct. In late 2017, Caitlin shifted her efforts to focus on several allegations of sexual and domestic abuse involving University of Arizona athletes and coaches. Caitlin has won a dozen awards for investigative and government reporting during her four years at the Arizona Daily Star.
Craig’s work in covering the Ducey administration and charter schools is without equal. While most state employees received meager or no raises, Craig exposed large raises handed out to Gov. Ducey’s inner circle last year. His work on charter schools showed how some charter owners are making a fortune, while the public school system deals with chronic underfunding. Craig has won multiple journalism awards, including the Polk, IRE and SPJ awards, as well as being a finalist for the Pulitzer.
During the reception, the two award winners will discuss their approaches to reporting and techniques they use to cover government. Free appetizers and drinks will precede the awards presentation. The event should wrap up by 6:30, with drinks at Chambers on First Street to follow (705 N. 1st St., #100).