The Hillman Foundation's Prizes for Exemplary Reporting on Social Justice Issues are awarded annually to journalists who demonstrate "social responsibility, investigating and telling the difficult stories that need to be told."
Jon was honored for his December article, "Auto Destruct":
In today's political lexicon, "Detroit" has become synonymous with failure--a shell of a city inhabited by a shell of a once-mighty industry. It is, in various tellings, the product of individual achievement laid low by collectivism run amok, or of innovation smothered by addled corporate managers and sclerotic labor contracts. Libertarians against unions, environmentalists against gas-guzzlers, or car enthusiasts against bad engineering--everybody can find something to loathe.
But, for all of Detroit's mistakes, it is also a victim of something it did right: ensuring a middle-class lifestyle for bluecollar workers. When the carmakers, pushed by unions, agreed to provide workers with a steady level of purchasing power, comprehensive health benefits lasting into retirement, and various forms of workplace rights, they were promising something that all Americans covet. And, while the financial costs and managerial constraints associated with that effort have helped bring domestic carmakers to the edge of collapse, ultimate responsibility for this situation lies beyond Detroit.