ProPublica was honored with four Online Journalism Awards, the most of any news organization, at the Online News Association Conference on Saturday.
ProPublica won its fourth Online Journalism Award for General Excellence, which honors a digitally focused news organization that successfully fulfills its editorial mission, effectively serves its audience, maximizes the use of digital tools and platforms and represents the highest journalistic standards. ProPublica previously won this award in 2009, 2012 and 2014.
“A Betrayal” won in the feature category. Reporter Hannah Dreier told the story of Henry, an MS-13 informant who worked with local police for about a year until immigration authorities arrested him, using his own disclosures about gang membership to justify his deportation. Deportation would mark Henry for a likely death. Dreier combed through years of texts and WhatsApp conversations on his cellphone to piece together the story, which resulted in the Department of Homeland Security opening an investigation into whether immigration officials violated Henry’s civil rights. Lucas Waldron, social visuals and graphics producer; Adriana Gallardo, engagement reporter; and video journalist Nadia Sussman also contributed to story’s multimedia package.
“Trump Town” a comprehensive database of the president’s political appointees and their federal lobbying and financial records, won an Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award. Led by ProPublica research editor Derek Kravitz, news applications developer Al Shaw, research fellow Claire Perlman and researcher Alex Mierjeski, the project is the result of a year spent filing Freedom of Information Act and open-records requests, collecting staffing lists and publishing financial disclosure reports. It illuminates the degree to which President Donald Trump has failed to “drain the swamp,” despite his campaign promises to address corporate lobbying and corruption in Washington.
“Walking While Black,” a collaboration with the Florida Times-Union on racial disparities in police use of pedestrian tickets, won a University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism. ProPublica reporter Topher Sanders and the Florida Times-Union’s Ben Conarck revealed that, in Jacksonville, Florida, pedestrians can be ticketed for 28 different infractions, including failing to cross a street at a right angle. They also found that black residents receive 55 percent of all pedestrian tickets in Jacksonville while accounting for only 29 percent of the population. The investigation prompted the sheriff to order officers to stop writing erroneous tickets for pedestrians who did not have ID on them and to initiate bias training for officers who work in Jacksonville. Lucas Waldron and data fellow Kate Rabinowitz, as well as ProPublica/Vox video fellow Ranjani Chakraborty, also contributed to the project.
Six other ProPublica projects were named finalists for Online Journalism Awards, including “Lost Mothers” for the Knight Award for Public Service; “The Waiting Game” for excellence and innovation in visual digital storytelling; “Bombs in Our Backyard” for the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award; and “The Taking” and “Too Broke for Bankruptcy” for the University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism.
See a list of all the Online Journalism Award winners here.