The Betty Gage Holland award winner for 2021 took a particularly thorny issue — medical billing and health care costs — and made it, according to one award judge “easy for an audience to understand.”
The Indiana Daily Student’s October 2021 story “In the dark: Transparency rule fails to shed light on costs for IU Health Bloomington patients” by Kaitlyn Radde and Carson TerBush was this year’s winner. It exceeded the judges’ expectations for reporting that placed special importance on issues that need public examination, use of open records, and as an opportunity for an audience to be able to see the people’s business being done.
This honor, founded in 2005, recognizes excellence in college journalism and honors the late Betty Gage Holland, a long-time friend of journalism education at the University of Georgia. Specifically, this award recognizes campus journalists and their publications for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses.
According to one member of the judging committee, the Indiana Daily Student piece stood out for its transparent methodology, engagement with the audience, and the astute way it distilled some complex processes.
“Steep medical bills are a problem everywhere,” this committee member wrote, “but the hyper focus on the problem in Bloomington (and the hospital’s years-long shadiness) made it a strong public service piece.”
Another committee member highlighted the piece’s deep dive into data with understanding, compelling sources and a strong narrative that drives the story.
In her acceptance remarks at the Leadership Dinner on March 3, 2022 Radde said she was “truly honored” to be chosen for this award, and that the time-consuming and deep dive into data that was done by her and fellow reporter TerBush was worth it for their audience to understand how patients were being unfairly charged based on their insurance or lack thereof.
The Betty Gage Holland Award provides $1,000 to the winning student journalists and another $1,000 to the publication sponsoring the winning entry.