Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced today that ProPublica reporter T. Christian Miller and The Marshall Project reporter Ken Armstrong are the winners of the 2016 Mike Berger Award for their joint investigation An Unbelievable Story of Rape. The annual prize, named after the late New York Times reporter Meyer "Mike" Berger, honors the best in-depth, human-interest reporting.
“An Unbelievable Story of Rape” showed the struggle of rape survivors having their credibility doubted by the legal system and the public. The piece chronicled the case of an 18-year-old woman who was raped at knifepoint in her apartment, only to be disbelieved by police and later prosecuted for the crime of lying to the authorities. Police, prosecutors and a local judge all came to accept the idea that the woman had simply invented the tale of her long, brutal assault. Years later, two relentless female detectives joined forces to piece together the truth, identifying and catching the rapist – and vindicating the young woman.
Miller and Armstrong had been investigating the case separately before coming across one another during their reporting. Instead of rushing to publish first, however, the two reporters elected to collaborate in the interest of producing the most authoritative, useful and resonant journalism.