© St. Petersburg Times, published March 16, 2002
Two veteran St. Petersburg Times staff writers have won prestigious national honors for feature writing and public service in the 68th National Headliner Awards program.
Thomas French won first place in the category of feature writing on a variety of subjects. In a serial narrative, "The Saboteur and His Son," French, 44, explored the secret history of his own family. Then as the war on terrorism unfolded, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer flew to Uzbekistan and wrote about life in Central Asia, including a feature on an old captain mourning the disappearance of the Aral Sea and another on a family fleeing torture and death in Afghanistan.
Julie Hauserman, who works in the newspaper's Tallahassee bureau, won a second-place award in the public service category for her special report "The Poison in Your Back Yard" on the dangers of arsenic contamination from pressure-treated wood.
Hauserman, 39, wrote about the use of pressure-treated lumber commonly used in picnic tables, decks, docks and playgrounds. The pressure-treated boards and posts are leaking poisonous arsenic into the soil. Earlier this month, American manufacturers agreed to stop using arsenic-treated wood for decks and playgrounds by the end of next year under a deal announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliner Awards program is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic excellence in the communications industry.