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ProPublica and Partners Win 2024 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications announced Tuesday that The Texas Tribune, ProPublica and FRONTLINE won the 2024 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability for their detailed analysis of the deeply flawed law enforcement response to the May 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Using a trove of unreleased investigative files, the news organizations produced a startling and exhaustive investigation, which included a documentary, that ultimately revealed what no one else had: States across the country are providing devastatingly insufficient training for law enforcement to confront a mass shooter, leaving critical and long-overlooked gaps in preparedness between children and the officers expected to protect them. Lomi Kriel and Lexi Churchill of ProPublica and the Tribune and Jinitzail Hernández, formerly of the Tribune, contributed to the series. Jessica Priest and Perla Trevizo of ProPublica and the Tribune and Zach Despart of the Tribune also contributed reporting. Juanita Ceballos wrote and directed the FRONTLINE documentary.

After the news investigation, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled the findings of a federal probe into the response. Garland pointed to missteps that led to delays in confronting the shooter. Then he turned to what he said was the biggest failure, one that required the most urgent action to avoid another colossal breakdown such as the one that cost lives that day: the lack of sufficient active shooter training. Garland’s comments validated the Tribune, ProPublica and FRONTLINE’s finding that there is an astounding dearth of such instruction around the country.

“A standout investigation into the missteps of law enforcement during one of the most horrific school shootings in recent U.S. history,” wrote one of the Collier Prize judges. “The accompanying FRONTLINE documentary was especially strong, using officer body-cam footage and recording debriefings with officers to take viewers inside the investigation of what went wrong and why those entrusted to protect children and teachers failed to act until it was too late to save some of the victims.”

Learn more about the Collier Prize.

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