April 11, 2005
Reporting on illegal campaign contribution earns David Herbert the James S. Robinson Award for Student Journalists
David G. Herbert, a sophomore majoring in history, has been named winner of the inaugural James S. Robinson Award for Student Journalists at Stanford.
The $1,000 annual prize was established last year in memory of Robinson, the Stanford Report editor who died Jan. 13, 2004, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Herbert, 20, won the award for his article "BSU [Black Student Union] illegally funded Husbands/Schwartz," which was published June 2, 2004, in the Stanford Daily. According to the award committee, the story "demonstrated the kind of balanced reporting and engaging writing that James Robinson, an award-winning journalist himself, valued and exemplified throughout his career."
The committee praised Herbert for the way he "skillfully investigated the complex issue of ASSU [Associated Students of Stanford University] election financing, bringing many voices into the discussion," and added that "the story contributed significantly to a dialogue that continued for several months."
"Writing this story gave me a taste of the detective journalism that we've all romanticized about watching All the President's Men," Herbert said. "The experience reminded me how exciting the field can be if you're willing to put in a little extra work, take risks and chase down stories some people don't want written."
Stanford News Service Director Elaine Ray, a member of the award committee, said: "We received several compelling entries. David's stood out for the way he approached a hard-hitting story with both tenacity and care. That was also one of James' gifts."
The committee, which in addition to Ray consisted of Alan Acosta, director of University Communications, and Frederick Turner, assistant professor of communication, cited two other Daily writers for honorable mention, noting their "talents and potential" as journalists: Eric Eldon and Jennie Kim.
Herbert, who said he is considering a career in journalism, plans to spend his summer as an intern at the San Jose Mercury News.
A native of Newton, Mass., Robinson was associate director for print at the News Service. Under his editorship, Stanford Report won the Gold Medal for Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in 2002. He came to Stanford in 1998 following a distinguished career at daily newspapers that included reporting jobs at the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, Hartford Courant, Houston Chronicle and Agence France-Presse.