ProPublica won the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award at the 2015 Online Journalism Awards dinner on Saturday in Los Angeles, closing out the Online News Association Conference.
The award, which recognizes innovative approaches to uncovering major news in the public interest, honored Insult to Injury, our series with NPR on workers' comp. Told through a collection of online stories, radio pieces, interactive news applications and photo essays steered by ProPublica reporter Michael Grabell and NPR correspondent Howard Berkes, the series investigated how our nation’s workers’ compensation system – state by state, secretive law by law – is being dismantled.
“We’re very proud of this reporting which made clear for the first time the human costs of the recent, dramatic reductions in workers’ comp benefits,” said ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg. “It’s an honor to have that work recognized by a community of journalists we admire.”
Within days of the “Insult to Injury” series launch, California officials launched a review of the state’s home health standard, and a senator later introduced a bill that would prevent medical care from being cut off in the state. The stories also prompted new legislation to raise workers’ comp benefits in Alabama, while lawmakers in several other states, as well as members of Congress, cited ProPublica’s investigation in trying to defeat proposals that would cut benefits to injured workers.