Three INN-affiliated news nonprofits have received national awards for their coverage of the impacts of power and corruption in everyday life — from labyrinthine dark-money political campaigns to police abuses in diverse, neglected communities.
The recipients are ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and CU-Citizen Access with INN Board Chair Brant Houston and Pam Dempsey of INN members the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. All were all recognized with IRE awards at the Saturday night ceremony at IRE 2013 in San Antonio.
Additionally, three INN members — the Center for Public Integrity, Investigative Newsource and the Bay Citizen — were IRE award finalists.
"These awards further demonstrate the high quality and societal value of the work being produced by INN members," said INN CEO and Executive Director Kevin Davis. "These IRE awards show that news nonprofits have become an important force in investigative journalism, taking their place alongside major commercial-news producers like CNN, the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Washington Post."
The three award-winners are notable for uncovering of abuses of process and authority that directly impact lives and communities.
- "Big Sky, Big Money," PBS Frontline, American Public Media’s "Marketplace" and ProPublica. According to the judges: "Big Money 2012 tells a tale of money, politics and intrigue in a remote epicenter of campaign finance, Montana. The investigation led the teams from big sky country to a meth house in Colorado and to a UPS store in D.C. as they followed a trail of documents ... The investigation led to a Montana judicial ruling that Western Tradition Partnership violated the state’s campaign finance laws and the head of the organization resigned."
- “Crunch Time: The relationship between the police departments and black communities in Champaign and Urbana," Hoy Chicago and CU-CitizenAccess.org (Champaign-Urbana, Ill.) According to the judges: "This partnership is a smart piece of accountability reporting about racial inequality that takes us inside a community through excellent video interviews and writing ... In the stringent enforcement of marijuana use, vehicular noise and other lesser crimes like jaywalking in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., this is a story of living in fear of the police ... 'Crunch Time' sticks with you."
- "Broken Shield," California Watch. According to the judges: "Reporter Ryan Gabrielson tells the disturbing story of how a state police agency failed to protect some of California's most vulnerable residents. But California Watch didn't stop with the traditional story. It aggressively sought and measured impact. It created a graphic video to make the story more accessible. It held events to engage the public. It also published an e-book and sent out postcards to ensure that its message got out to as many people as possible. It is an impressive package that shows that a journalist's work in many ways is just beginning with the publishing of a story."