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ProPublica Wins Five SABEW Awards for Business Journalism

Our work was honored in the health/science, investigative, technology, banking/finance and explanatory categories.

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) announced today that ProPublica won five awards in its Best in Business competition recognizing excellence in business journalism.

Marshall Allen’s “Wasted Medicine” won for health/science. The series identified shocking examples of the hundreds of billions of dollars that the U.S. wastes each year on health care. Allen’s work also pointed to solutions that could save money, making more dollars available for other needs and lowering the cost of care for everyone.

Too Broke for Bankruptcy” by Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques won in the investigative category. Their reporting showed that the bankruptcy system routinely fails those it is meant to aid and punishes poor black Americans in particular. Securing never-before-released data and doing sophisticated analysis, they showed in stark detail that blacks were failing to finish their bankruptcy payment plans in startling numbers—leaving them in worse straits. Zooming in closer on a couple of cities, they found this cycle of loss was driven largely by a particular style of bankruptcy practiced by white attorneys in the South.

The “Automating Hate” series won in the technology category. The collaboration with The New York Times and German news organizations -- by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Lauren Kirchner, Ariana Tobin, Madeleine Varner, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Rob Weychert, Noam Scheiber, Hannes Grassegger, Stefanie Dodt -- exposed the underside of Facebook’s success by documenting sometimes illegal policies that the world’s largest social network has long hidden. Among other practices, the series revealed that Facebook was enabling right-wing groups to target pitches to “Jew Haters,” landlords to block African-Americans from seeing ads for apartments, and dozens of companies to limit recruitment ads to younger workers.

Peter Elkind’s “The Billion-Dollar Loophole,” co-published with Fortune, won for banking/finance. The investigation 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.

Michael Grabell’s “Sold for Parts” won in the explanatory category. A collaboration with the New Yorker, it told the story of how Case Farms, a chicken processing company with plants in Ohio and North Carolina, built its business by recruiting some of the world’s most vulnerable immigrants — undocumented, and some underage — and subjecting them to harsh, even illegal, workplace conditions. The company then used their workers’ undocumented status to get rid of them if they protested or were injured on the job.

Learn more about the SABEW Awards, and see a list of all the winners here.

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