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“An Unbelievable Story of Rape” Wins Nakkula Award for Police Reporting

T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project are the winners of the Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting. The two reporters were honored for their joint investigation An Unbelievable Story of Rape, which detailed the great threats to keeping women safe from sexual assault: how disastrously wrong rape investigations can go when law enforcement fails to take victims seriously, and the refusal of police departments across the country to work together to stop serial rapists.

Co-sponsored by the University of Colorado College of Media, Communication and Information and the Denver Press Club, the Nakkula Award is named after the late Al Nakkula, a police reporter who worked for 46 years at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. The annual honor recognizes a reporter, or team, for outstanding accomplishment in police reporting.

Telling the harrowing story of an 18-year-old woman who was raped in a Seattle suburb, only to be disbelieved by police and even charged with a crime for false reporting, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” reveals why many women have been so unwilling to come forward after they have been assaulted. The remarkable read also recounts the meticulous work of two female detectives in Colorado who identified and caught the rapist, ultimately vindicating the young woman.

Miller and Armstrong took readers inside the botched police investigation in Seattle, and brought to life the committed investigation in Colorado, producing a suspenseful, gripping story. The piece was applauded by the police department that had mishandled the initial investigation, and several law enforcement agencies have requested permission to use the article as part of their training programs.

The two reporters will be honored at a reception on April 16 at the Denver Press Club. Read more about the Nakkula Award here.

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