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Mac McClelland Wins June Sidney for Mother Jones Story About the Impact of the Oil Spill on Fishermen’s Wives in the Gulf

Contact: Elissa Strauss
[email protected]

July 15, 2010

NEW YORK: The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today that Mac McClelland has won the June Sidney award for “Depression, Abuse, Suicide: Fishermen's Wives Face Post-Spill Trauma,” published on McClleland’s piece details the way the oil spill in the gulf has affected individual households, from a shortage of food for fishermen’s families to disputes with BP over the size of relief checks – as well as a surge in reports of domestic violence, up in some places by 320%.

Sidney Judge Charles Kaiser said, “McClelland succeeds in putting a human face on the tremendous toll taken on fishermen’s families by this environmental catastrophe” – a toll which already includes the suicide of an Alabama charter boat captain.

McClelland shows the way the oil spills has created familial conflicts – including disputes over whether or not idled fisherman should work for BP to help clean up the spill:

Young, fresh-faced Julie with the toddler on her lap doesn't want her husband doing cleanup anyhow. She tells him to stop doing it because it's dangerous. He says, "How do you want me to feed you?" She says, "How are we gonna eat when we're dead from chemical contamination you're bringing into the house?" He says, "We'll live on the check."

At this point in Julie's re-creation of this daily fight, everyone yells, "But we're not getting the check!"

McClelland is the human rights reporter for Mother Jones magazine. She did extensive reporting about the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina. She has also written dispatches from Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Micronesia, and Bhutan, about everything from the handsome young Bhutanese king to South Pacific conservation initiatives. She is the author of For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story From Burma's Never-Ending War (Soft Skull Press), which describes how U.S. sanctions have done nothing to reduce oppression in that war-torn nation. She has also written for The Nation, GQ South Africa, and The Daily Beast, among other publications and websites. McClelland is a resident of San Francisco.

The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, which also awards the annual Hillman Prizes every spring. For more information please, click here.

For an interview with McClelland about the piece click here.

Certificate designed by Edward Sorel

The Sidney is awarded monthly to a piece published in an American magazine, newspaper, on a news site, or a blog. Television and radio broadcasts by an American news outlet are also eligible, as are published photography series.

Deadlines are the last day of each month. The piece must have been published in the month preceding the deadline. In the case of magazines, please nominate according to the issue date on the publication, not when it first appeared.

Nominations are accepted for one's own work, or for someone else's.

The Foundation will announce a winner on the second Wednesday of each month. Recipients will be awarded $500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate designed especially for the Sidney by New Yorker cartoonist, Edward Sorel.

If you wish to nominate yourself or a piece by anyone else, please click here for our nomination form.If you have any further questions about the nomination process, please send your inquiry to [email protected]