ProPublica took home two awards at the 14th annual Online Journalism Awards dinner Saturday night in Atlanta, capping the Online News Association Conference.
ProPublica's 2012 election coverage won the planned news events award for medium-size publications (those with 20 to 125 full-time staffers). Highlights of the package included:
- PAC Track, the first independent-expenditure tracker in the 2012 campaign;
- Free the Files, an ambitious crowdsourcing project in which more than 1,500 users helped us track political ad filings from television stations in swing markets; and
- Message Machine, a news app that let readers see how campaigns used their data to target them via email.
The Big Money project, with PBS’s Frontline and American Public Media’s Marketplace, won the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism for medium-size publications. It was a key part of ProPublica’s long-term investigation into the "dark money” increasingly influencing political races.
ProPublica's editor in chief, Stephen Engelberg, said the awards “reaffirm the importance of ProPublica’s role as an elections spending watchdog in an increasingly political world,” adding, “We’re committed to continuing to work at the junction of impact and accessibility.”
Scott Klein, senior editor for news applications, agreed. “With all of the incredible work being done to cover the visible parts of the 2012 campaign, we wanted to tell the invisible stories, so we focussed our attention on hidden money, secret campaign tactics, obscured ad spending," he said. "We’re immensely proud of the team who worked on our election coverage and gratified to have their work recognized by a community we are such big fans of.”