The Scripps Howard Foundation announced today that the ProPublica-spearheaded project “Documenting Hate” is a finalist for the 2017 Scripps Howard Award for Topic of the Year.
The pioneering initiative formed a coalition of newsrooms to address one of the most urgent and least understood corners of America’s criminal justice experience: hate crimes. The Documenting Hate team brought clarity to what hate crimes are; who perpetrates them and who is victimized by them; as well as why they are so poorly understood, investigated and prosecuted.
The Documenting Hate project emerged out of an urgent worry in the aftermath of the 2016 election: that a badly divided nation was in the midst of a resurgence in intolerance and violence. The concern was only amplified by a lack of responsible, trustworthy information about what felt to many like a clear and present danger.
Some 140 partner newsrooms have joined the effort, including 94 local newsrooms, 36 national newsrooms and 10 ethnic media newsrooms. ProPublica built and maintained a database of more than 4,000 tips amassed from submissions from everyday Americas and data from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Documenting Hate network, involving news organizations as diverse as Univision and the Cincinnati Enquirer, used these tips to produce more than 100 stories last year. Those most central to ProPublica’s efforts include A.C. Thompson, Ken Schwencke and Rachel Glickhouse.
Among other topics, ProPublica has investigated why police do such a poor job at tracking hate crimes, pulled the curtain back on how white supremacists operate both online and off, and presented a heartbreaking multi-media exploration of hate crimes in the Sikh community. Participating reporters at other news organizations documented hate in schools, spikes in bias-related occurrences on public transportation and spates of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incidents, among many other disturbing patterns and episodes.
Winners will be announced on March 6. See a full list of Scripps Howard Award finalists here.