The Radio Television Digital News Association has named ProPublica the winner of two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. The national competition honors outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital news.
“The Bad Bet,” a collaboration between former ProPublica Illinois reporters Jason Grotto and Sandhya Kambhampati and WBEZ reporter Dan Mihalopoulos, won the Investigative Reporting Award in the large market radio category. The four-part investigation into video gambling across the state of Illinois examined the impact slot and poker machines have had on the state’s finances and the social costs associated with video gambling. Reporters uncovered how the gambling industry’s massive growth in Illinois has fueled an increase in gambling addiction among thousands of residents and ceded outsize political influence to industry insiders, all while failing to deliver the financial windfall lawmakers had promised cash-strapped communities around the state. This comprehensive examination held legislators to account for their actions and prompted concrete change, including an increase in funding to combat addiction and to strengthen the state gaming board.
ProPublica’s innovative and collaborative efforts on reporting through social media won the Excellence in Social Media Award in the small digital news organization category for ProPublica and Its Readers Audit the For-Profit Tax Prep Industry (And Congress, Too!). Reader response on social media to a news update about Congress and the for-profit tax prep industry quickly illustrated widespread public interest in the topic. These responses were used to make additional social content, further engaging readers around the world and across platforms like Twitter and Reddit. These stories prompted reporting on the industry’s deceptive digital marketing tactics, which helped inform a year’s worth of further reporting. This work prompted congressional action, a policy change by the IRS, and ongoing investigations of the tax-prep industry by the FTC and others.
A complete list of Murrow Award winners can be found here.