New Orleans Times-Picayune police reporter Brendan McCarthy has won the 2009 Mike Berger Award for in-depth, human-interest reporting. The award, named for the late New York Times reporter and awarded by Columbia University, recognized McCarthy’s eight-part series, “Homicide 37: Seeking Justice for Lance,” which chronicled the investigation into the murder of 17-year-old Lance Zarders. The case, which ultimately collapsed with a grand jury declining to indict the 15-year-old suspect in his death, remains unsolved.
The series was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist in local reporting. The school lauded McCarthy’s work for its “strong development of scene and various characters, (which) evoked Berger’s own style of writing. Like McCarthy, Meyer Berger would have recognized the human side of this difficult story that deeply affected the family, the investigating officers who tried so hard to solve the murder, and ultimately the city of New Orleans.” The series is available online at nola.com/crime.