Three ProPublica projects have been named finalists for Deadline Club Awards in the annual contest honoring the best work by journalists in the New York City area.
“The Right to Fail,” a collaboration with PBS Frontline, is a finalist in the Newspaper or Digital Local News Reporting category. Led by ProPublica reporter Joaquin Sapien and filmmaker Tom Jennings, the investigation focused on a New York policy to move people out of institutions and into private apartments, revealing that social workers felt pressured to move individuals even when they were not good candidates for living on their own. Lacking the structure of institutions, it became much easier for individuals to slip through the cracks, with dangerous, dehumanizing and sometimes fatal results.
The day after our report co-published in the New York Times, federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who originally approved the 2014 settlement that resulted in the supported-housing policy, ordered an independent report to assess the effectiveness of its incident reporting system. Garaufis also got state officials to commit to examining their service-coordination program and suggested they develop a program to help residents learn basic life skills in supported housing.
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Crisis, a collaboration with the New York Times, is a finalist in the Business Investigative Reporting category. The series of investigations by ProPublica senior editor Charles Ornstein and New York Times reporter Katie Thomas detailed undisclosed relationships between Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and for-profit health care companies, highlighting conflicts of interest. A story on Dr. José Baselga, MSK’s chief medical officer, detailed his failure to disclose corporate board memberships and payments from companies connected to cancer research in his published research articles, even when he was reporting on the results of studies conducted by those companies. Baselga resigned from his job at MSK within days, after initially insisting his conduct was appropriate and ethical, and he later stepped down as one of the editors-in-chief of Cancer Discovery, a prominent medical journal.
Following the series, MSK’s CEO, Dr. Craig Thompson, also resigned from his seats on the boards of Merck and Charles River Laboratories and made new conflict disclosures, as did other MSK staff. MSK additionally announced that a vice president who oversees hospital ventures with for-profit companies would turn over to the hospital a nearly $1.4 million stake in a biotech company that he received for representing MSK on the company’s board.
“The Billion-Dollar Loophole,” co-published with Fortune, was nominated in the Business Feature category. The investigation by senior reporter Peter Elkind exposed a popular charitable donation tax scheme for the very rich that is being manipulated to make big profits, and how it’s costing the government billions in lost revenue.
See a list of all the 2019 Deadline Club Award finalists here.