Curwen and Orr’s ‘The Street Within’ Wins Prestigious Berger Award

Thomas Curwen and Francine Orr.
(Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Thomas Curwen and Photographer Francine Orr have won the highly coveted Berger Award for “The Street Within,” a series that followed eight residents of a homeless encampment in South Los Angeles who were fast-tracked into apartments.

The Berger Award is given annually by the Columbia Journalism School to a reporter(s) for in-depth, human interest reporting. The last time The Times received the award was in 1993.

Curwen and Orr’s four-part series was based on more than 18 months of reporting and reviewed the flaws in housing policy and the challenges of the people trying to leave the streets and change their lives.


“Most journalists would have done the one-day ‘feel good story’ of the eight escaping tents on the sidewalks of Broadway Place in South Los Angeles,” noted the award program’s judges, who called the entry “a stunning body of work.

“This project should be studied by policy makers, both at the state and federal level, for a true understanding of the homeless crisis facing America.”